Now that the United States' Country of Origin Labeling program is picking up steam, the European Commission is considering new food labeling proposals, which would make it illegal to label foreign meat as British. The proposed regulation would require any label giving the origin of meat to specify where it was bred, reared and slaughtered. Under current rules, meat that has been reared and slaughtered elsewhere can be labeled as British, as long as it is processed or packaged in the United Kingdom.
Food and farming minister Jane Kennedy says domestic farmers would benefit from a system which gives shoppers more information about the origin of their food. But, other ministers and industry members argue that the proposals do not go far enough and should include compulsory country-of-origin labeling.
Supporters of the bill say interest in local sourcing and local production of food has grown significantly in recent years and consumers should be given the information they need to make informed decisions about the food they buy.