No obligation to state place of origin

by Editor
Friday, November 27, 2009

Two topics dominated the autumn general meeting of the International Butchers' Confederation (IBC) in Brussels: animal by-products and the EU quality policy on agricultural products.

The new EU regulation on animal by-products is to be published in the next few days in the EU Official Journal and will then come into force 15 months later in the member states. The Commission is currently drawing up implementing rules. Matjaz Klemencic described the current status of negotiations to the European butchers. There is still much speculation over the definition of "a small quantity" of K-3 material. The national authorities responsible for implementing the regulation can authorise alternative disposal methods for this. Klemencic put the amount of K-3 material per butchery business at between five and 200 kilos, depending on the size of the operation. IBC Vice President Dr. Reinhard Kainz explained to the Commission representatives that the butchery sector is not calling for harmonisation, as the structures in the individual member states are much too diverse for this.

Discussions surrounding mandatory details of place of origin or manufacture did not start with the green paper on EU quality policy for agricultural products. Carlo Pagliacci reported on the decision-making process in the European Commission and announced that the details of origin will remain mandatory e.g. for beef and foods with protected geographical status. The Commission representative pointed out how difficult and indeed pointless this is with regard to mixed and processed foods, saying, "We shouldn't overdo this." Investigations would, however, he said, be carried out to determine the feasibility of labelling for other types of meat.