Food Law News - EU - 2005

Council Press Release, 18 July 2005

POULTRY - Definition of fresh poultry meat and origin labelling

Extract from the minutes of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting

The Council took note of a request from the Netherlands delegation on the need for a revision of Council Regulation No 1906/90 and Commission Regulation No 1538/91 (11178/05). This delegation insisted in particular on the lack of clarity as regards the marketing standards laid down in these Regulations concerning defrosted poultry meat and considered in particular that poultry meat that has been frozen should not be labelled as fresh. The Netherlands delegation also supported the introduction of an EU label for poultry meat originating in the EU, taking into account that Council Regulation No 1906/90 provides that poultry meat from third countries that is offered for sale as fresh must carry a label indicating the country of origin.

Commissioner Fischer-Boel stressed that after thorough consultation within the Commission it had been concluded that from the legal point of view, the abovementioned Regulations provided specific and detailed rules concerning general food law. However, she made clear that under the current interpretation of the Institution, the practice of selling defrosted poultry meat labelled as fresh was not in conformity with Community standards. She also indicated as regards an EU label for poultry meat originating in the EU that proper traceability and labelling were currently not compulsory in the poultry sector, although it could be the subject of further consideration in the future. Finally she pointed out that she had raised this issue during a meeting on 26 May with poultry industry representatives and suggested using labelling on a voluntary basis as a first step, prior to a check after a certain period of time.

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