As the Food Standards Agency (FSA) publishes its latest research on Country of Origin Labelling, Which? chief policy adviser Sue Davies says:
“While we’re pleased that the FSA supports EU proposals to make origin labelling less misleading, we’d like to see them go further by pushing for an extension of origin labelling rules. Our research shows strong consumer support for country of origin labelling, especially for meat and poultry.
“It’s bizarre that, currently¹, the origin of beef has to appear on the label, but it doesn’t for other meats such as pork. It’s great that more food companies are now providing information on a voluntary basis, but unless this is mandatory, consumers won’t always get the full picture.”
Which? research from September 2009, in which 1,090 UK adults were questioned face to face, shows that three in four people want origin labelling for meat and poultry products. Around three quarters believe it important that the country of origin is labelled on fruit and vegetables (77%), dairy products (76%), fish (73%) and the meat and poultry used in processed foods (74%).
¹ Current rules mean that manufacturers only have to provide the country of origin for a limited number of products (beef, eggs and poultry if imported from outside the EU, fish in some circumstances, some fresh fruit and vegetables, honey and olive oil), or if it would be misleading not to provide it. When the manufacturer does provide it, the country of origin is legally the place that the product last underwent a substantial change, not the actual origin of the main ingredient.
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