HL Deb 29 February 2000 vol 610 cc58-9WA
The Earl of Shrewsbury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether their plans for Honest Labelling include the labelling of pigmeat and pigmeat products from European Union countries with words to the effect that "This product has not been produced in accordance with current United Kingdom animal welfare regulations"; and if not, why not. [HL1014]

Baroness Hayman


The Government favour positive labelling to highlight the advantages of British quality and animal welfare standards. Consumers who wish to support these standards tell us they actively choose foods that are marked as British. Following concerns that such labelling can sometimes mislead, we have consulted a wide range of interested parties and issued tough new guidance to industry and enforcement authorities. These make clear the need to ensure that country of origin markings on food labels do not mislead consumers about the true origin of the ingredients that have been used. We have also appointed a "verification officer" to work with industry bodies to identify cases where products are being sold at retail or catering level which may mislead the consumer into believing they contain pork of British origin when in fact it is imported. The verification officer's action has already had some impact on the labelling practices of retailers and at least two sets of misleading labels have already been withdrawn by two different retail groups.

Welfare standards vary across the Community, although all products must comply with EU rules. The Government fully support the NFU initiative to develop a kitemark to help consumers identify quality assured products.