Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 18 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Food Labelling.

  42. Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the action she is taking to ensure that all third country beef is properly labelled; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29193/04]

  Mary Coughlan: Beef imports into the European Union from third countries must have been sourced in countries and in premises that are currently listed and approved by the European Commission and which are subject to veterinary audits by the EU’s food and veterinary office. In addition, such imports are subject to checks laid down in the harmonised rules prescribed at European level, and must be accompanied by the prescribed veterinary health certification from the competent authorities in the country of export.

The Community beef labelling requirements, which are compulsory in all member states, apply to beef sold at retail level within the Community, regardless of whether that beef was produced [1482] within the Community or in a third country. Where beef is imported into the Community from a third country that beef must, at a minimum, be labelled as “Origin: non-EC” along with an indication of the third country in which slaughter took place. There is a gap in these requirements in so far as they do not apply at restaurant and catering sector level. It is my intention to proceed with a legal requirement that country of origin must be displayed in respect of beef served on such premises. The legal options allowing for this development are being examined at present.