Commenting on the results of a vote at the Environment and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson welcomed the positive vote in favour of the de Lange ‘Food Fraud’ report which will strengthen procedures for detection and prevention of fraudulent practices in the food chain.
Ms Anderson said:
“This report was initiated following the recent Europe-wide horsemeat scandal which severely damaged consumer confidence and trust.
“Food fraud does not just occur in horsemeat being labelled as beef. I was shocked to learn of further examples including; marketing ordinary goods as ‘organic’, selling battery cage eggs as free-range and even road salt being used as food salt.
“It is unacceptable that the potential financial gain for those involved in food fraud is higher than the risk of apprehension and penalties do not present a sufficient deterrent.
“I therefore welcome the result of the ENVI Committee vote in favour of many of my amendments which sought to improve this report. Included in the my amendments, was a call for increased transparency in the food chain and stronger point of origin labelling, including for meat used as an ingredient in ready meals or other processed meats. Producers and supermarkets selling meat products for human consumption must be accountable for the quality and standard of the food they sell.
“I was especially gratified to see that one of my amendments highlighting the existence and necessity of regional systems of labelling, such as the case in the North, was incorporated into this report and passed in the vote. It is important that producers here are entitled to label their produce as ‘Irish’ or ‘British’ if they so wish.”