UK - The British government is calling on the European Commission to introduce country of origin labelling on milk and dairy products.
Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference on Wednesday, the agriculture secretary Liz Truss (pictured) said that British dairy products were being put at a disadvantage on the supermarket shelves because of products that have been produce abroad.
“It is wrong that when you go into a British supermarket, you can look at a product on the shelves and think it’s British, when in fact the milk in it has been produced abroad,” she said.
“I have made a case for proper Country of Origin labelling to appear on milk and dairy products to Commissioners in Brussels.”
Mrs Truss said that the government is also taking further measures to support the UK dairy sector which has seen milk prices fall from 33.8 pence a litre at the beginning of last year to “the low 20s in some cases”.
“We will continue to face a difficult global market in the coming months,” Mrs Truss said.
“We want to make sure that the hard-working farmers in this industry are able to withstand as far as possible the immediate effects and also to have the resilience to handle volatility in the longer term.”
The agriculture secretary said that the government is working with the National Farmers Union to explore the potential fo a futures market for the sector, which she said would help to ease price volatility.
She added that dairy farmers need to ensure that they receive full support under the £141 million Countryside Productivity Scheme in the Rural Development Programme – a scheme to help farmers become more competitive.
Mrs Truss added that they government is seeking to encourage longer contracts with farmers to help add security and it was backing farmers wanting to come together in producer organisations.
“What I want is for our dairy industry to be number one in the world; an industry that not only gets through this difficult period, but builds up its competitive strength to meet future challenges and opportunities,” she said.
Part of the success she added was a rise in exports of 60 per cent since 2009.