Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament, said:
“One year on from the horsemeat scandal, Labour’s MEPs are leading the way in tackling food fraud.
“Food fraud cases are becoming a common occurrence and must be tackled at European level – it represented almost €36 billion (£30bn) in 2012, a year in which the level of fraud increased by 60%. We need better and more frequent inspections and appropriate penalties for rule-breakers.
“Country of origin labelling gives consumers the power to make informed choices, and forces food manufacturers to get a grip on their supply chain.
“I originally proposed country of origin labelling for meat in processed foods in 2011, and had the support of the European Parliament. Unfortunately it was blocked after opposition from the food industry and the UK government, but Labour MEPs will continue to fight in the interest of consumers.”
Among the proposed measures to improve confidence in the food chain are: a new Europe-wide definition of food fraud; enhancing the role and resources of the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in tackling food fraud; and sanctions equivalent to twice the profit made by fraudulent means and in recurrent cases, closing food business operators down.