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12-05-2016

MEPs renew call for mandatory country of origin labelling of meat and milk

Country of origin labelling should be made mandatory for meat and milk, MEPs reiterate once again in a non-binding resolution voted on Thursday. Mandatory labelling would help improve consumer confidence in food products by making the food supply chain more transparent, they say.

Labels stating the country of origin or place of provenance should be made mandatory for all kinds of drinking milk, dairy products and meat products, say MEPs, adding that the EU Commission and member states should also consider extending it to other single-ingredient foods, or those with one main ingredient.

To better inform EU consumers, in the wake of the horse meat scandal and other food fraud cases, and improve transparency throughout the food chain, country of origin labelling should also be made mandatory for meat in processed foods, says the text, approved by 422 votes to 159, with 68 abstentions.

MEPs point out that:

  • 84% of EU citizens consider it necessary to indicate the origin of milk (2013 Eurobarometer survey),
  • 88% consider such labelling necessary for meat (other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry meat, which are already covered), and
  • more than 90% consider such labelling important for processed foods (2013 European Commission report).

They note that the Commission's report found that the operating costs of making country of origin labelling mandatory for the meats under its remit would be “relatively minor”

Note for editors

Parliament has voted several resolutions on country of origin labelling. In its resolution of 11 February 2015 on meat in processed foods, Parliament urged the Commission to come up with legislative proposals to make labelling the origin of meat in processed foods mandatory, in order to ensure greater transparency throughout the food chain and to better inform European consumers. However, the Commission has yet to make any such proposals, citing the costs of mandatory country of origin labelling to industry and predicting that consumers would not be willing to meet the additional costs.

Adopted text will soon be available here (12.05.2016) Video recording of debate (click on 11.05.2016) EbS+Audiovisual material for media