Members of the European Parliament voted in early February 2014 for consumers to be given more information on where their meat comes from. 

Under European Union rules now being enforced, cuts of meat must be labeled with the country of origin. However, the question remains how extensive that labeling information should be.

Glennis Wilmott, MEP, said: "Consumers want the full picture of the meat supply chain, which is why I am calling for the place of birth, rearing and slaughter to be labeled. Many people want to know whether animals have come from places with good welfare standards and how far they have been transported, for ethical and environmental reasons.

We already have these rules in place for beef, and I don't see why we shouldn't have the same for pigs, sheep, chicken and other meat."


Although the parliament has approved the resolution, EU governments have already agreed to include on labeling simply the place of rearing and slaughter, and the European Commission is under no obligation to take note of the parliament's decision.

Wilmott continued: "The battle for honest food labeling continues, and I will now focus my efforts on ensuring we get country of origin labeling for meat in processed foods. Consumers want to know where the beef in their lasagna and the chicken in their curry come from.

"A year on from the horsemeat scandal we should be making some fundamental changes. Making country of origin rules mandatory will force manufacturers to get a better grip on their supply chain, and could avoid another scandal."

Industry position

The UK National Farmers Union has also said that mandatory rules should extend to include where animals were born, reared and slaughtered, which would increase consumer confidence at a time when the industry is still reeling following the horsemeat scandal.