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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 17 December 2013

Food: Commission tables report to launch debate on mandatory origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient

A report on the possibility to extend mandatory origin labelling for all meat used as an ingredient was published today by the Commission. Based on an external study, completed in July 2013, this report weighs up the need for the consumer to be informed, the feasibility of introducing mandatory origin labelling and provides a cost/benefit analysis including the impact on the single market and international trade.

On the basis of these discussions the Commission will consider what, if any, appropriate next step should be taken. This may include, if appropriate, tabling a legislative proposal to regulate the origin of meat used as an ingredient in foods.

Main findings

The report assesses three scenarios: 1) maintain origin labelling on a voluntary basis (which maintains the status quo); 2) introduce mandatory labelling on the basis of a) EU/non-EU or b) EU/ specific third country (e.g.: Brazil) indication and 3) introduce mandatory labelling indicating the specific EU Member State or the specific third country.

The main findings reveal that:

  • Consumer interest in origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient appears to be considerably strong (90% of consumers).

  • There exists a considerable difference amongst EU Member States on consumer preferences and understanding of origin information as well as on the levels of motivation and reasons for wishing to have such information.

  • Consumer interest for origin labelling ranks behind price and quality in terms of most important factors affecting consumer choice. Strong consumer interest in origin labelling is not reflected in the consumer's willingness to pay the additional cost that would be incurred in providing that information. At price increases of less than 10%, the consumers' willingness to pay falls by 60-80%.

Next steps

On the basis of the discussions with EU Member States and the European Parliament, the Commission will consider what, if any, appropriate next steps should be taken.


The external study which forms the basis of today's Commission report was based on broad consultations with stakeholders, including consumer and industry organisations, consumers as well as national competent authorities in the EU Member States.


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Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

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