PM urges meat industry transparency

Halstead Gazette: Prime Minister David Cameron has called for more transparency over meat labelling Prime Minister David Cameron has called for more transparency over meat labelling

A review of labelling of halal meat will be conducted if the industry fails to deliver more transparency within the next few months, Downing Street has said.

Much of the meat sold in British supermarkets and served in restaurants comes from animals slaughtered according to traditional Muslim rituals, but in many cases it is not labelled halal.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has said that labels should carry details of the method of slaughter, and said the UK would have to break with EU rules in order to ensure it is done.

But the Prime Minister has said that the issue is a matter between retailers and restaurants and their customers.

He told ITV West Country: "If you are going into a restaurant you assume that it is not halal meat unless you are told otherwise. Do we need a national labelling scheme? I would rather hope not. I would rather hope it could be dealt with by the restaurants and businesses.

"I think a lot of businesses and restaurants will probably change their practices and change their labelling. We should start from the approach that the greater the transparency the better, and I hope we can achieve that transparency without necessarily having a full-on national labelling scheme.

"Let's see if we can get some transparency and perhaps review the situation in a few months' time."

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: " The Prime Minister thinks that British consumers want to see more transparency on this issue, that has arisen because people had not expected that so much meat was not labelled. He said, 'let's see if we can get some transparency and then we will review the situation in a few months' time'.

"British consumers are good at making clear their views on what they want and retailers, I'm sure, will look at working with consumers on this.

"We think, because of this debate that has happened, businesses and restaurants will look at consumers' interests in this area and the fact that they are expressing that they want more information. Let's see what happens over the next few months on that issue. The backstop is that we will review it, depending on what transparency there is."

Asked whether a review would look at the possibility of compulsory labelling, the spokeswoman said: "When we get to a review, of course there are things we can look at, but we are not at that stage yet.

"Clearly there are some British consumers that want to understand more about the way the meat on their table has been slaughtered. What we are saying is that retailers need to work with consumers with this to come up with something that addresses consumer concerns. It's about providing more information for consumers."

Mr Farage told LBC 97.3 radio: "Over half of the meat sold in this country is halal. We have this debate about labelling, but it isn't the British Government, it isn't Defra that decides how we label food, it isn't the British Government that decides the rules for slaughtering animals. It's all done in Brussels.

"The EU looked at this in 2011.There was a big debate in the Parliament as to whether we should have much clearer food labelling and the European Parliament decided 'No, we are not going to do that'."

Mr Farage said he supported the right of the Jewish and Muslim communities to have meat prepared according to the rules of their religions.

But he added: "What I don't want is one particular form of meat production imposed upon everybody else.

"I think actually for once we should say we don't need Brussels to do this, we can sort it out for ourselves and let's have clear meat labelling. Who could possibly object to that?"

Comments (2)

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1:38pm Fri 9 May 14

unebalam says...

The meat industry is a disgrace full stop. The wholescale abuse and murder of any creature is wrong and screams against our humanity. There are so many problems caused by the meat industry and so much time and effort is wasted running around trying to fix the unfixable. The real problem is that taking something that is not yours especially when it is anothers life is wrong and therefore no good can or will come of it.
It says it all when you see these religious leaders who should be teaching unconditional compassion getting thier knickers in a twist about what is effectively the ultimate form of cruelty. It just goes to show they are just concerned with interpreting religous dogma for thier own benefit.
I honestly pity them and all others who are involved in this pathetic debacle.
The meat industry is a disgrace full stop. The wholescale abuse and murder of any creature is wrong and screams against our humanity. There are so many problems caused by the meat industry and so much time and effort is wasted running around trying to fix the unfixable. The real problem is that taking something that is not yours especially when it is anothers life is wrong and therefore no good can or will come of it. It says it all when you see these religious leaders who should be teaching unconditional compassion getting thier knickers in a twist about what is effectively the ultimate form of cruelty. It just goes to show they are just concerned with interpreting religous dogma for thier own benefit. I honestly pity them and all others who are involved in this pathetic debacle. unebalam
  • Score: 3

1:50pm Fri 9 May 14

welshmen says...

Well done Poland, they have banned ALL non-stunned slaughter, this Country live's in the twenty second century, the Religions that want this Barbaric slaughtered Meat are still living in the seventh century, they moan and moan, call us Islamophobes until they get what they want, we should ban all non Stunned Slaughter and Islam from our Country, they are after all, Colonisers not immigrants....The whole Meat Industry needs to be reviewed ASAP and updated....
Well done Poland, they have banned ALL non-stunned slaughter, this Country live's in the twenty second century, the Religions that want this Barbaric slaughtered Meat are still living in the seventh century, they moan and moan, call us Islamophobes until they get what they want, we should ban all non Stunned Slaughter and Islam from our Country, they are after all, Colonisers not immigrants....The whole Meat Industry needs to be reviewed ASAP and updated.... welshmen
  • Score: 5
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