UK Introduces Voluntary Country-of-Origin Labeling on Pork Products
The United Kingdom (UK) has introduced a new country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) code of practice for pork and pork products. Launched at a recent National Farmers Union conference, the voluntary code was drawn up by the Pig Meat Supply Chain Task Force representing processors, pig producers, retailers, and the food-service sector.
“A year ago I said that I wanted to end the nonsense of unclear country-of-origin labeling on pig meat products,” Environment Secretary Hilary Benn was quoted as saying. “I expect all major retailers to sign up and join those who have already decided to end the confusion for shoppers. If they don’t, their customers should ask them why they’re not in favor of clear, honest labeling.”
The code reportedly aims to ensure that processed products will clearly identify country of origin for pork ingredients. Companies adhering to the new code have committed to providing clearer information such as “Produced in the UK using pork from country X.” Terms such as “Produced in the UK” will not be used without qualification of the pork’s origin.
Other key elements of the code: (i) a single country-of-origin label signifies the pig was born, reared and slaughtered in that country; (ii) the use of national terms and symbols, such as flags, signifies the pork comes from that country; (iii) food service outlets will make origin information readily available to customers on menus, in literature or on company websites; and (iv) the term “local” will be clearly defined. See Meat International, February 25, 2010.