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U. K. seeks clearer food labels after pork scare

OXFORD/REUTERS

Britain is pushing for clearer food labelling in the European Union following last month’s scare with dioxin-tainted Irish pork, Farm Minister Hilary Benn said Jan. 6.

Benn told the annual Oxford Farming Conference that under current EU regulations, a product’s country of origin is the place where it underwent its last significant process.

“A pork pie made in Britain from Danish pork can legitimately be labelled as a British pork pie. That’s nonsense and it needs to change,” Benn said.

“The scare over Irish pork in December and the problems involved in identifying which products were affected also shows why good labelling matters,” he added.

Irish pork was pulled from supermarket shelves in more than 20 countries after dioxins up to 200 times the legal levels were found on 10 pig farms in Ireland.

Benn said he was pushing for EU labels to indicate where an animal was born, reared and slaughtered.

He added that “the EU moves a lot slower than the consumer does” and so he was also talking to processors and retailers about voluntarily introducing country-of-origin labelling.

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