Government backs origin labelling campaign

UK - Lord Rooker backed the MLC campaign’s for origin of meat labelling on menus in foodservice outlets on Monday at a MLC Symposium in London.
calendar icon 7 March 2007
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The minister of state for sustainable farming and food said the climate had changed dramatically in the last 10 years and the public had a greater interest in the origin of food.

However, he counselled against going down the legislative route on menu transparency as this could take up to three years. “It would be much better if the industry does this voluntarily and provides something the public has confidence otherwise there will be pressure to regulate.”

Lord Rooker also warned foodservice outlets against defensive labelling which enterprises used for commercial reasons such as “free from GMO ingredients” when the government had not even approved the product.

Lord Rooker’s comments followed new research unveiled by the MLC, which found that more than two-thirds of consumers want to be told where the meat they eat is from.

The MLC carried out a NOP survey in January 2007, which found that 60% of people want restaurants to provide clearer information on the country of origin of the meat they serve. A MORI poll carried out in 2006 showed similar results.

MLC CEO Richard Lowe called on foodservice establishments to follow the example of retailers who had been improving their labelling of origin.

He cited the example of the Aberdeen Angus label in restaurants as causing confusion through unambiguous labelling as 84% of consumers believe it comes from Scotland when less than 40% is produced domestically.

Lowe also pointed to menus that selectively put down the origin of meat on two or three dishes causing consumers to assume that the rest of the meat was also British.

“The relevance of origin is increasing not decreasing,” said Lowe. “Over the last three years origin labelling on menu has improved slightly but it has some way to go.”

Source: Meat
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