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Mandatory origin labelling of fresh pork

By Digby Scott
December 2014

Carcases


Europe's mandatory meat labelling rules require fresh, chilled and frozen pork to be labelled with:

Country of Rearing AND Country of Slaughter

But when the pig has been born, reared and slaughtered in one country, there is a voluntary option to simply state:

Origin: United Kingdom

Meats subject to the rules

Meats covered by the rules are listed in Implementing Regulation No. 1337/2013 and are:

  • Fresh, chilled and frozen pigmeat
  • Fresh, chilled and frozen sheep and goat meat
  • Fresh, chilled and frozen poultry.

Beef is subject to separate origin labelling rules, introduced earlier as part of the European Union's BSE measures.


Processed meats

Processed meats are not covered by the new rules but their origin must still be given if failure to do so:

"...Might mislead the consumer as to the true country of origin or place of provenance of the food, in particular if the information accompanying the food or the label as a whole would otherwise imply that the food has a different country of origin or place of provenance".

A European Commission assessment has found mandatory origin labelling of pigmeat in processed foods would place an unreasonable burden on food companies and regulators — but some MEPs remain keen on the idea and the file is still open.


Mandatory labelling terms for pigmeat

The new rules require the label to state where the pig was reared and slaughtered.

1. REARED IN

Examples of the new rules in practice:

Reared in: Denmark
Reared in: United States

Note: Under some circumstances a pig born in one country will be described as being reared in another (see notes below).

Where the rearing period does not comply with any of the conditions the label will state:

Reared in: several Member States of the EU 
OR Reared in: several non-EU countries 
OR Reared in: several EU and non-EU countries

A voluntary option is to be more specific and state, for example:

Reared in: Denmark and Germany

But the food business operator must be able to prove the animal was reared in those member countries (or third countries).

POINTS TO NOTE

  • If the pig is more than six months old at slaughter then the country where at least the last four months of rearing took place will be given. 
     
  • If the pig is less than six months at slaughter and has a liveweight of at least 80 kilo, the country of rearing will be given as the country where the animal reached 30 kilos. 
     
  • If the pig is slaughtered at less than six months and has a liveweight of less than 80 kilos, the country in which the whole rearing period took place will be given.


2. SLAUGHTERED IN

Examples of the new rules in practice

Slaughtered in: Denmark
Slaughtered in: United States


3. VOLUNTARY ORIGN STATEMENT

If they wish, food companies may replace the 'Reared' and 'Slaughtered' mentions by a single origin statement.

Origin: Denmark
Origin: United States

But the food business operator must be able to prove the animal was born, reared and slaughtered in the single country named. NPA considers this to be the gold standard, as there is no room for ambiguity.


4. MINCE AND TRIMMINGS

There are derogations for mince and trimmings. The following indications may be applied.

Origin: EU

(This is where the mince or trimmings come from animals born, reared and slaughtered in different member countries.)

Reared and slaughtered in: EU

(This is where the mince or trimmings come from animals reared and slaughtered in different member countries.)

Reared and slaughtered in: non-EU

(This is where the mince or trimmings are from meat imported into the European Union.)

Reared in: non-EU 
and 
Slaughtered in: EU

(This is where the mince or trimmings are from animals imported into the European Union as animals for slaughter and have been slaughtered in one or different member countries.)

Reared and slaughtered in: EU and non-EU

(This is where the mince or trimmings are produced from animals reared and slaughtered in one or different member countries and from meat imported into the European Union, or from animals imported into the European Union and slaughtered in one or different member countries.)

European Commission summary of labelling mentions

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