GUE/NGL MEP Lynn Boylan has today called on the European Commission to meet citizens' demands for robust country of origin labelling on food.

Speaking in a debate in Parliament's Environment committee, the Irish MEP highlighted that consumer confidence was at an all-time low as a result of controversies like last year's horsemeat scandal.

“It's increasingly clear that people want to know where the meat they eat has been produced,” she said. “Consumers across Europe want country of origin labelling on the food they purchase.

“The horsemeat scandal was caused by fraudulent criminal activity but we must look at the conditions in which it took place: the aftermath of the scandal revealed that supermarkets have little knowledge of the true provenance of the meat they sell as a result of murky and complex food chains which cross many borders. Origin labelling would put an onus of responsibility on the final seller; and in fact many producers across Europe already do this on a voluntary basis without serious impact to their profits.”

Boylan called on the Commission to stop putting forward questionable cost estimates for the introduction of country of origin labelling for meat in processed foods and to instead focus on seeking to enhance traceability along the food chain, from farm to fork.

She concluded: “The Commission must not ignore the citizens, MEPs and consumers groups who have all called for legislative proposals that include meat used as an ingredient for origin labelling. We have an opportunity now to restore consumer confidence in food products through robust origin labelling – it is essential that we grasp it.”

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