European Breakthrough on COOL Labelling

NFU Scotland is delighted that lobbying efforts to secure meaningful country of origin labelling (COOL) on fresh and processed food have helped secure the backing of the European parliament in a breakthrough vote taken in Strasbourg today (Wednesday, 16 June).

NFU Scotland and its Brussels office were in close discussions with MEPs ahead of the vote, which takes Europe one step closer to a system of labelling that will give Scottish and UK consumers clear, accurate and honest country of origin information on all food products, removing the ambiguity that is frequently found on some labels.  A final decision on introducing COOL will be taken by the Council of Ministers later this year.

NFU Scotland Chief Executive James Withers said: 

“Scottish consumers have a growing awareness and interest in where their food comes from but the current labelling laws are confusing and, particularly on processed products, are open to abuse.  This vote takes our consumers one step closer to making more accurate and truthful information about the food they buy.

“Clearer country of origin labelling will work in the interests of our farming sector as Scotland’s growing reputation for food and drink has quality produce front and centre.   Scottish farmers have a great story to tell in the contribution they make to our food and drink sector and clearer labelling will allow the public to back their nation’s producers.

“Europe is now on the brink of bringing in laws that will insist labelling is clear and in no way misleading.  Too often country of origin is consigned to the label’s small print or, on processed foods, the act of processing allows food manufacturers to conceal where the primary products have come from.   Any new legislation must knock this on the head.   While COOL labelling on fresh produce should be a given, people buying processed products also deserve to know the provenance of the main ingredients in their meal.

“Today's vote is a breakthrough and our lobbying efforts, in conjunction with other UK Unions will intensify as we head towards the Council of Ministers later this year.”


Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland believes it is essential that consumers making a food purchasing decision should have clear information on origin. Mandatory country of origin labelling currently applies (in the majority of cases) to beef and veal, fruit and vegetables, eggs, wine, honey, olive oil and EU organic products. We strongly believe that there is no reason why origin labelling should not be extended to the last few remaining sectors, namely poultry meat, dairy, lamb and pork.
  • NFU Scotland believes that for semi-processed food it is necessary to introduce a new definition of “country of origin” labelling, one which indicates the place of farming of the main agricultural raw material used in the preparation of the product, NOT the place of manufacture or the place where products underwent their last substantial transformation.
  • NFUS believes mandatory country of origin labelling should be extended to the main ingredients of semi-processed meat and dairy products.


Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108




Date Published:

News Article No.: 95/10

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