New EU rules introducing origin or provenance labelling rules for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of pork, sheep, goat and poultry have been supported by a qualified majority of Member States in the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health yesterday. Under these rules, EU consumers will be able to know where the meat they buy comes from – a demand they have clearly expressed. Consumers will be able to make well informed choices taking into account the concept of "origin", "reared" and "slaughtered", each concept being clearly defined at EU level.
The proposal introduces a compulsory labelling system that establishes a link between a given meat and the animal it was obtained from. According to these new rules, animals born, raised and slaughtered in the same Member State can be labelled with the terms "Origin: Member State (or third country)" while in other cases the rearing and slaughtering places will be indicated on the label. A detailed set of rules adapted to each type of production is established in order to guarantee that the place of rearing is in fact where the animal spent a substantial part of its life.
The proposal will now be formally adopted by the Commission and published in the Official Journal in the coming days. The new Regulation will apply from 1 April 2015, so as to allow for the agri-food sector to adapt. The Commission outlined a first draft proposal in September, and the text has been discussed with Member States and adjusted so as to get widespread support among Member States. Similar rules already exist for fresh beef meat, and the 2011 Food Information to Consumers Regulation identified the need for a clear and harmonized approach to labelling these other meats, requesting the Commission to propose rules at EU level.