The illegal horse-meat found in burgers, lasagnes and spaghetti Bolognese, without any labelling, shows that there are loopholes in the EU legislation and in the food traceability chain, according to Labour’s Public Health spokesperson Glenis Willmott.
She has called for the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety to discuss this issue in its meeting next Monday.
She welcomed the decision of EU ministers to hold a special meeting tomorrow (Wednesday), but criticised governments for their short sightedness during the negotiations on Food Labelling.
In July 2011 the Parliament had to accept weak legislation imposed by the Council, but she said that Labour MEPs and their colleagues would continue with the “campaign for honest food labelling“.
During the negotiations on the EU Food Labelling Regulation, Glenis Willmott proposed that there should be mandatory country of origin labelling for processed meat products like burgers and lasagnes, but member states did not support the proposal.
Glenis said: “Back in 2011 the Council agreed to my amendments to include country-of-origin labelling for fresh lamb, pork, goat and poultry, just as we already had for beef, fish, fruit and vegetables.
“We also pushed the Council to accept that the Commission would produce a report and possible legislation on the origin of meat in processed food within two years. So the Commission’s report should be almost ready and we will call for specific legislation to avoid misleading information for customers. We will ask the Commission at what stage the report and legislative proposals are.
“If companies were forced to specify which country the meat in their lasagnes and other dishes comes from, they would have to keep a much tighter grip on their supply chain – and it would be much less likely that illegal meat of unknown origin creeps in.”