Tougher Stance On Food Labelling Needed

03 August 2010
Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish full member of the European Parliament's powerful Agriculture Committee, has responded to comments made by Defra Minister Jim Paice MP on country of origin labelling (COOL).

Mr Paice has come out in support of voluntary country of origin labelling, following a vote in the European Parliament in June which called for compulsory country of origin labelling.

Mr Smith has been a long-time campaigner for compulsory country of origin labelling.

Smith said:

"This is really disappointing from the Minister. With the industry already dragging its feet on implementing this, it is frustrating that Defra is being equally casual.

"It is clear that our consumers are in support of COOL, and it is only right that they receive full and clear information to allow them to make informed purchasing decisions. We have top end, quality products in Scotland and it is in our interests to be able to distinguish them from those from other countries.

"I am also in full support of labelling meat that has come from animals which have not been stunned prior to slaughter. I am not against ritual slaughter, though as a corollary to that freedom, there should be an obligation to label meat derived from it as such, so that, again, consumers can make their own decisions.

“Voluntary labelling is not good enough for our consumers or our producers. I strongly urge the Minister to rethink his stance.”