Country of origin information falls
Published:  19 July, 2012

The amount of country of origin labelling is actually falling in the meat aisles, despite the introduction of a voluntary code on the issue, a survey by Defra had revealed.

According to the government department, country of origin labelling on meat products like bacon, ham, sausages and burgers dropped from 73% to 72%, although products like pies and ready meals, containing meat, saw a rise from 73% to 77%.

Now farming minister Jim Paice is calling on the entire industry to up its game, particularly within the foodservice sector.

He said that despite 18 months passing since the introduction of a voluntary code on country of origin labelling, but he said there had little action from caterers and no great improvement on foods in shops, with some manufacturers supplying less information.

He is now urging the entire food industry to take up the challenge and give consumers the information they want on production methods, environment and quality. He has also written to the British Hospitality Association calling for it to encourage members to provide origin information on the main ingredients in their meals.

Paice said: “More than ever, people want to know where their food comes from, so it’s disappointing to see little improvement in the number of food products showing this information.

“Origin labelling helps people make informed choices and gives assurances on quality, production methods, and environmental impact. Whether it’s on a label, menu, or given verbally, I want to see all of industry making every effort to provide this information that the consumer has made it clear they want.”

According to ShopperVista research from IGD, almost three quarters of consumers consider where food is produced as fairly, very, or extremely important, while four in 10 want to know more about where and how their food is produced. Eight in 10 are interested in knowing more about meat and poultry.