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Welsh shoppers and farmers boosted with meaty new law from Europe

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A local politician has welcomed a new law, approved in the European Parliament this week that will help shoppers choose meat from British farms.

Welsh Labour MEP, DEREK VAUGHAN, backed proposals to require almost all pre-packed meat sold in British shops to carry information about where the animal came from.

Currently only beef and fish are required to include country of origin labelling. Labour MEPs have been leading the fight to introduce the new legislation and have vowed to keep up the pressure for the rules to be extended to cover processed foods.

The new rules have the backing of farming groups and consumer organisations.

Speaking about the vote, which received the overwhelming support of Euro-MPs, DEREK VAUGHAN said:

"This is a positive step forward in our campaign for shoppers to have upfront and honest information about the food they buy.

"People want to know where their meat comes from and these new rules are great news for anyone who cares about the story behind their Sunday roast.

"Shoppers already have the right to know about the origins of their beef, fish, and fruit and veg. Now the vast majority of meat we buy will be covered too.

"Finally consumers will be able to see exactly where their meat began its journey to their fork.

"It is welcome news for consumers and great news for Welsh farmers too."

The proposals will apply to cuts of meat from pigs, poultry, sheep and goats. The changes mean that almost all meat sold in British supermarkets will need to include country of origin information.

Mr Vaughan has vowed to continue the campaign to extend the rules further to cover meat in processed foods, such as sausages and ready meals.

After pressure from MEPs, the European Commission has agreed to undertake impact assessments with the possibility of introducing additional proposals to cover these products in two years time.

He added: "Most people would agree that just because a sausage is minced in Britain doesn't make it a British sausage. Yet that's exactly what manufacturers can currently claim.

"I will continue to keep up the pressure for action to be taken to give consumers access to honest information about the food they buy."

The rules are expected to come into force by the end of 2014, though it is expected that many suppliers will begin adopting the practice well in advance of that date.

-Thursday, 07 July 2011-

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