Scots beef farmers call for improved country of origin labelling

Improving the country of origin labelling on processed beef products would improve consumer confidence, Scottish farmers say
Improving the country of origin labelling on processed beef products would improve consumer confidence, Scottish farmers say

A farming union has called for improved country of origin labelling (COOL) on processed beef products to encourage support for Scottish farmers.

Consumers should have the ability to identify where the beef they are buying comes from, whether fresh or processed.

In a letter to the Defra Minister George Eustice, NFU Scotland said new measures must be in place to ensure the public back Scottish farmers more.

Farmers have specifically raised the issue of origin labelling on processed food products as beef often makes up one of the main ingredients.



As such any measure would enable the consumer to support domestic beef production whilst enhancing transparency in the marketplace, the union said.

Scottish beef is seen as an industry leader in quality, animal welfare and in environmental delivery.



Because of this, NFU Scotland said the UK government should act to allow shoppers to tell through clear labelling whether or not a product contains home produced beef.

It comes as Scottish beef farmers are currently experiencing a three year low in prices for prime cattle.

Improving country of origin labelling on processed beef products could help this situation.

NFU Scotland Livestock Chair Jimmy Ireland said that consumers 'need to be able to be confident' when they are buying beef products.

He said: “Although we have strong regulations on the labelling of fresh beef products there are significant weaknesses in the regulations surrounding processed beef which too easily allows for imported beef to be used without the consumer being aware.

“Improving the country of origin labelling on processed beef products will not only improve consumer confidence, it will also improve the transparency within the supply chain as consumers will have confidence in where all their beef products come from.”

Mr Ireland added: “Clearer origin labelling should also be progressed for processed lamb, pork and chicken products so that the Scottish public can support domestic livestock production across the sectors



“Scottish shoppers want to buy Scottish and we want to guarantee they can week in, week out.”