Country Of Origin Labelling: An Update

Author:Ms Isabel Foley, Deborah Spence, Orla M. Clayton and Danielle Conaghan
Profession:Arthur Cox

As of 1 April 2015, food business operators must comply with new EU rules on the labelling of fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry. These new labelling rules are in addition to the obligations imposed by the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (the "FIC Regulation"), which came into force across the EU on 13 December 2014 (read our previous update here).

In this Briefing, we look at the different wording which should now be included on labels of fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry where the:

meat is obtained from animals born, reared or slaughtered in a single member state or third country; meat does not originate in one single state; meat is imported from third countries; and meat is minced meat. 1 APRIL 2015: EXTENSION OF COUNTRY OF ORIGIN REQUIREMENTS

From 1 April 2015, under Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013, it is obligatory to display country of origin or place of provenance information on the labels of fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry.

Food business operators must have a traceability system in place at all stages of the production and distribution of meat, from slaughtering to packaging, to ensure a link between the labelled meat and the animal or group of animals from which that meat has been obtained. The Implementing Regulation seeks to strike a balance between the provision of information to the consumer and the subsequent extra cost and administrative burden for operators and national authorities, which inevitably has an impact on the final price of the product.

The FIC Regulation already requires that details on the country of origin or place of provenance must be indicated if a failure to do so might mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product. The general labelling requirements under the FIC Regulation apply without prejudice to labelling requirements provided for in specific EU provisions, including the Implementing Regulation.


Animals born, reared and slaughtered in a single member state or third country

Where the food business operator proves to the satisfaction of the competent authority (in Ireland, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland) that the meat has been obtained from animals born, reared and slaughtered in one single EU member state or third country, the appropriate indication is:

Origin: (name of EU member state or third country) Meat does not originate in...

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