New campaign for clearer food labelling in Scotland

21st February 2014 - Fine Cut

Scottish consumers may see greater clarity in food labelling in the future, through a new campaign.

A new food body is being created in the country and Scottish food minister Richard Lochhead has unveiled a partnership drive to push up information standards on packaging ahead of its establishment.

He stated that labels should give consumers greater clarity about where products come from and revealed the campaign will be led by Scottish government and the Food Standards Agency, with input from consumers and industry.

Speaking at the annual conference of the National Farmers' Union Scotland, Mr Lochhead added: "It is really important that work is taken forward now to address the frustrating and damaging issue of misleading labelling information."

He pointed to a poll showing 90 per cent of consumers want to see Scottish-branded red meat in stores as evidence of a "strong appetite" for local produce and insisted packaging information will be a priority for the new food body.

Views of shoppers in Scotland regarding what they would like to see on food labels will be sought as part of the campaign in order to strengthen future legislation.

The new food body for Scotland will be established in 2015 and aims to improve safety and standards for consumers in the country.

Following the horse meat scandal, the Scottish government commissioned a report and pledged to take action to prevent such problems occurring in the future.

Proposed legislation will be included in the Food Standards Scotland Bill, which will also create the food agency for Scotland and strengthen enforcement powers for food to be seized that fails to meet labelling regulations.

Retailers are being asked for details about how they label read meat products and public health minister Michael Matheson has stressed that it is important consumers trust the food they buy.

Mr Lochhead has previously outlined steps being taken to combat food fraud and mislabelling, and claimed they "will give Scottish consumers additional confidence that they can be sure of the provenance, quality and safety of the red meat they consume".

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