Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney is signing into law new rules to provide for country of origin labeling (COOL) on packaged meat products. The rules cover meat from poultry, pigs, sheep, and goats, and will add to the existing rules in place for beef.

The regulation introduces requirements on food business operators including processors, retailers and butcher shops to ensure that country of origin information is available to customers who purchase packaged meat products.

The minister commented: “This regulation is yet another step in providing even clearer and more detailed information to consumers with regards to the food that they purchase. Origin labeling has been in place for beef for many years now and has benefitted the consumer in being able to identify the origin of the products they purchase. This additional requirement to provide information on the origin of other meats to consumers is broadly consistent with the rules on beef and adds transparency for consumers.”


The EU regulation underpinning these rules covers pre-packed non-processed meat but does not cover ‘loose’ product, or non-pre-packaged meat. However the EU regulations provide that mandatory origin labeling may be extended to loose products by national rules, and Coveney indicated that his department is working with Ireland’s Department of Health to determine whether this can be done on the basis of existing primary legislation.

“Ireland has long been a supporter at EU level for practical information to be made available to the consumer when it comes to their choice of food purchases and the implementation of these rules is another positive step in that direction,” said Coveney.