Alyn Smith, SNP full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee, has welcomed the publication of a report by the European Commission that explores the possibility of extending mandatory origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient.
The report (based on an external study that included broad consultations with stakeholders, including consumer and industry organisations, consumers as well as national competent authorities in the EU Member States) weighed up the need for the consumer to be informed, the feasibility of introducing mandatory origin labelling and provided a cost/benefit analysis including the impact for the single market and international trade.
On the basis of discussions with EU Member States and the European Parliament, the Commission will now consider what, if any, appropriate steps should be taken. This may include, if appropriate, tabling a legislative proposal to regulate the origin of meat used as an ingredient in foods.
"In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, plus after our hard-won experience with BSE, there's no farmer in Scotland who won't be able to tell you the value of having a safe, transparent and straightforward foodchain. Maintaining confidence in our meat products is absolutely vital for our farmers.
"However, it is also abundantly clear that our consumers feel the same urgency about having clarity on where their food comes from. This report states that 90% of people have a strong interest in having origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient.
"I'm not always the first to welcome new rules from the European Union but with the ever-deeper integration of our food markets, it is apparent that we need greater European regulatory coordination, not less. This report, and the proposals made, show the beginning of moves to address the current hole in legislation.
"I sincerely hope the Commission will now take steps to bring a legislative proposal to Parliament."
The Commission press release is available at: http: //europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1265_en.htm