An East Midlands MEP has welcomed a new law that will help shoppers choose meat from British farms.
Glenis Willmott, who has been heavily involved in drawing up the new legislation, is backing proposals to require almost all pre-packed meat sold in British shops to carry information about where the animal came from.
Currently only beef and fish are required to include country of origin labelling. Glenis and her Labour colleagues have been leading the fight to introduce the new legislation and have vowed to keep up the pressure for the rules to be extended to cover processed foods.
The new rules have the backing of the NFU and consumer organisations.
Speaking before the vote, which is expected to receive the overwhelming support of Euro MPs, Glenis said:
“This is a positive step forward in our campaign for shoppers to have upfront and honest information about the food they buy.
“People want to know where their meat comes from and these new rules are great news for anyone who cares about the story behind their Sunday roast.
“Shoppers already have the right to know about the origins of their beef, fish, and fruit and veg. Now the vast majority of meat we buy will be covered too.
“Finally consumers will be able to see exactly where their meat began its journey to their fork.
“It is welcome news for consumers and great news for farmers in the East Midlands.”
The proposals will apply to cuts of meat from pigs, poultry, sheep and goats. The changes mean that almost all meat sold in British supermarkets will need to include country of origin information.
Gleniss said that her campaign would continue to extend the rules further to cover meat in processed foods, such as sausages and ready meals.
After pressure from MEPs, the European Commission has agreed to undertake impact assessments with the possibility of introducing additional proposals to cover these products in two years time.
Glenis added: “Most people would agree that just because a sausage is minced in Britain doesn’t make it a British sausage. Yet that’s exactly what manufacturers can currently claim.
“I will continue to keep up the pressure for action to be taken to give consumers access to honest information about the food they buy.”