Food Law News - EU - 2000

EP News, 6 July 2000

BEEF - Report on Packaging of Beef and Beef Products - Analysis Of Vote

With the adoption of Amendments 1 - 5 Parliament has modified the Council's common position on establishing a system for the identification and registration of bovine animals and for the labelling of beef and beef products. The purpose of the regulation is to establish, with effect from 1 September, a system of labelling beef and beef products to give consumers information about the provenance of the meat.

Franz FISCHLER, Commissioner for Agriculture, had pleaded with Parliament not to modify the common position. In particular he rejected the amendment not to mention on the label the category of slaughtered animal (steer, calf etc.) since he felt that providing this information was important for consumers. If there were no mention of category, he said, this would represent a renationalisation of the labelling system which was the last thing that Parliament would want. However, Parliament reasserted its view that such information was confusing and irrelevant to the consumer. It would also mean extra costs for farmers and the meat-processing industry.

Parliament also adopted an amendment creating the possibility of supplying on the label information in addition to the information concerning where the animal or animals from which the beef was derived were born, fattened and slaughtered. Finally, Parliament wanted the label to state the country of origin of minced beef if the country is not the country where the meat is prepared. In this way consumers would not be misled.

It is not clear what the Council will do with the amendments adopted by Parliament. Time is pressing: the regulation enters into force on 1 September.

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