Farmers 'disagree with govt's labelling stance'

26th June 2014 - Fine Cut

Livestock farmers have voiced their disappointment with the government's decision not to introduce the improvements to country of origin labels on processed meat products and ready meals.

While farming minister George Eustice is happy that the current rules are adequate, some agricultural workers feel betrayed by the fact parliament has reneged on its initial promise.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) argued this new form of labelling could make the price of these foods skyrocket by as much as 50 per cent.

However, chairman of the Cornwall branch of the National Farmers Union Brian Trewin was not impressed. 

"We were upset to find out they had gone behind our backs and were working with the processors. They are being two-faced," he remarked. 

Mr Trewin refuted the argument about the price rising substantially, stating it was as simple as stamping the country of origin on the packet and that this wouldn't be responsible for such an increase. 

In 2007, prime minister David Cameron and then-farming spokesman Nick Herbert announced they were in favour of country of origin labelling being mandatory. 

However, Mr Eustice has now said that many processors and retailers already make this information available and that the rules in place are sufficient. Defra commented this would not have an adverse effect on food safety and insisted it would continue to work alongside the industry for the customer's good. 

Mr Trewin stated that a processor should be proud of the product he is making, which means he should have no qualms about making known the country from which it originated. 

This would also enable the public to be in the know about the food they are purchasing, which is particularly pertinent at the moment in light of the horse meat scandal that emerged last year.

"Top-of-the-range ready meals are guaranteed British, but why should people who buy the economy range be denied the information of knowing where their food comes from?" he asked.

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