Food Law News - UK - 1997

13 November 1997: BEEF - Approval Scheme for Beef Labels Gets Underway

MAFF Press Release (352/97), 13 November 1997

Approval Scheme for Beef Labels Gets Underway

Retailers who want to sell fresh or frozen beef with anything more than the most basic label should apply for authorisation now.

Applications should be made to the Beef Labelling Scheme which comes into force on 1 January 1998. From then all labels for fresh or frozen beef carrying information which cannot easily be checked at the point of sale must be approved in advance by a competent authority on behalf of the Government. Labels will carry information on, for instance, the animal's sex, where it was born, raised and slaughtered.

Retailers should approach the Ministry of Agriculture's Beef Labelling Section, Room 416, Whitehall Place (West Block), London SW1A 2HH. Approval will only be given where the information is known to be accurate and an independent third party has been employed to verify its accuracy.

To date 15 organisations have been recognised as capable of verifying label information. The Government will also consider other organisations willing to verify claims, including any nominated in applications received up to the end of the year. Such organisations will only be considered if they are independent from the applicant (and all those involved in the production and marketing chain of the applicant), and are either accredited or seeking accreditation to the European Standard EN/45011.

A booklet explaining the rules of the scheme has been distributed to all known retail outlets for beef and veal. Information on European Standard EN/45011 can be found in the explanatory booklet. Application forms and explanatory booklets can be obtained from the Ministry's Beef Labelling Section, which is also the address for completed applications. The full address is: Room 416, Whitehall Place (West Block), London SW1A 2HH

The organisations so far recognised for verification purposes are:

With exception of the first six organisations listed, recognition is conditional on a formal application to start the accreditation process before a report is submitted on behalf of a Scheme applicant. Contacts and addressess for the above-mentioned organisations is available from the Beef Labelling Section.

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