MP Calling For Changes In Food Labelling Legislation

PUBLISHED: 10:10 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 04 May 2010

MP Jim Paice is calling for changes to the legislation on food labelling. The MP, who represents South East Cambridgeshire, says the public need to be properly informed about the origins of the food they are buying and eating. Mr Paice recently appeared

MP Jim Paice is calling for changes to the legislation on food labelling. The MP, who represents South East Cambridgeshire, says the public need to be properly informed about the origins of the food they are buying and eating.

Mr Paice recently appeared on the Jamie Oliver programme Jamie Saves Our Bacon in an attempt to highlight the issue of misleading labelling.

"Current food labelling legislation is riding roughshod over the lower end of the pricing market," Mr Paice told the Ely Standard.

"I think if people buy Lincolnshire sausages, they would expect to be buying meat that has been reared in Lincolnshire, not imported meat. I am not advocating a protectionist approach, but we do need some clarity."

Following the Channel Four programme, Hilary Benn, Labour MP and Secretary of State for environment, food and rural affairs, and Jane Kennedy, minister of state for Defra, met with several supermarket bosses to discuss the introduction of a voluntary food labelling system, which they say will provide consumers with more clarity.

But Mr Paice believes that voluntary food labelling doesn't go far enough.

"We have been here before - when Nick Brown was agricultural minster there was a big song and dance about it and in the end it just didn't work. We still have a situation where consumers need to take a magnifying glass out shopping with them in order to read the small print."

Food labelling rules mean supermarkets and producers can legally label meat and other foods as 'produced in the UK', when, in fact, the main ingredient comes from abroad. For example, a chicken sandwich that has been packaged in the UK or uses other UK ingredients can be marked 'produced in the UK' even though the meat has been intensively farmed in Thailand. Wiltshire cured bacon, shown on the Jamie Oliver programme, was in fact pork meat from Denmark, but because part of the curing process had taken place in the UK, it was legally labelled as Wiltshire bacon.

New rules on country of origin labelling are currently making their way through Europe, but a Defra spokesman warned that no changes should be expected before 2010.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Does the legislation on food labelling need to be changed. Is food labelling misleading?

Write to: the editor at the Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email: debbie.davies@archant.co.uk

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