The European Commission has pushed back the EU-wide Beef Labelling Scheme by three months due to continuing problems in getting the scheme up and running throughout Europe. However, the UK is setting an example for the rest of Europe in encouraging outlets to label their beef with clear and detailed information.
Many beef operators in Britain have already sought and received approval for their labels even though the deadline for the European Beef Labelling Scheme is now 30 June 1998.
Food Minister Jeff Rooker said:
"I am disappointed that the European Commission has further delayed the full introduction of this Scheme by another three months. The Beef Labelling Scheme will give consumers accurate information about the beef they buy. We are keen to see the Scheme introduced as quickly as possible. Britain is already way ahead of the rest of Europe in approving beef outlets to use detailed labelling information. This will not only benefit consumers, who will have accurate information on the beef that they buy, but will also be welcome news to farmers, who can be assured that imported beef can no longer be described as "British". Despite the delay in Europe, I trust British operators will not relax their efforts and would urge those who have not yet applied to do so at the earliest opportunity. The sooner applications are approved, the sooner consumers will benefit."
The following background notes are given: