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Country of origin labelling

Clearer origin labelling is a key commitment for the government. We want to make sure consumers have confidence in origin claims being made. We know consumers are particularly concerned about meat, dairy and meat products.  We are working with the food industry, retailers and others to encourage better labelling and greater compliance with government best practice guidance.

We also want greater transparency and clarity around which businesses are committed to improved origin labelling.

The EU negotiation on the Food Information Regulation includes discussions on Country of Origin labelling requirements across Europe. We are negotiating for improved origin labelling and have not ruled out the option of compulsory labelling.

Food Information Regulation

The proposal for a Food Information Regulation (FIR) was published in 2008 and is in its first reading in the EU. The proposal aims to simplify and update existing legislation and will be directly applicable in all Member States, therefore replacing an EC labelling Directive, which is transposed in UK law.

The scope of the regulation includes a number of key issues such as country of origin labelling, front of pack nutrition labelling, alcohol labelling and clarity requirements.

Discussions are continuing in the European Council to reach agreement on a common position. The dossier will then move into second reading with both the Council and Parliament having a further opportunity to consider the issues in the text in the first half of 2011.

The process is unlikely to be completed before late 2011. Once the Regulation is published there will be transition period of several years before businesses must comply with the new requirements.

Page published: 3 October 2010

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