23 Jun 2010

EU considers extending country-of-origin labelling

6:26 pm on 23 June 2010

The Meat Industry Association is wary of new regulations being considered in Europe that will require all food to be labelled with its country of origin.

At the moment, only beef, honey, olive oil and fresh fruit and vegetables require country-of-origin labels, but the European Parliament has passed a draft proposal extending the requirement to all meat, poultry and fish products.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says that if the ruling is adopted it will have implications for New Zealand lamb used in processed food there.

If processors have to change the label every time they change their source of product, Mr Ritchie says, they may decide to stick with one supplier only, which may be to the New Zealand product's detriment.

Mr Ritchie says more than half New Zealand's sheepmeat goes to Europe.

He doesn't believe however that the regulation will come into effect in the near future, given the legislative process involved.