The new EU regulation on food information threatens to make country of origin labelling mandatory for meat, and possibly also for meat products. Yet butchers from Greece through to Denmark all agree that this would be unworkable in practice.
Proposals being drawn up by the European parliament would require the country of origin to be identified on meat and poultry. The Belgians, current holders of the EU council presidency, are trying to push through the proposed law: following the vote by the European parliament the joint position of the council, which contains representatives of the member states, is expected in early December. This is apparently very similar in substance to that of the MEPs, i.e. in favour of labelling.
The International Butchers' Confederation came out forcefully against the proposals at its recent European Meat Forum in Brussels. The IBC's member organisations from all over Europe alerted the politicians and EU Commission representatives to the fact that such labelling would impose an enormous additional financial burden on small, non-industrial businesses and would simply not be viable.
They also pointed out how important it would be to remove loose goods from the scope of the new regulation. It would not be possible to apply a label to each and every sausage in the meat counter, said a French butcher.
Source: afz – allgemeine fleischer zeitung 47/2010