Launched one week ago on the website Change.org, the petition was created by French consumer watchdog UFC-Que Choisir; the National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Union (FNSEA); Coop de France which represents the interests of French agricultural cooperatives and an agricultural youth union, Jeunes Agriculteurs.
To date it has attracted 7,775 signatures.
The petition reads: “At a time when consumers are more and more calling for knowing the origin of the products they consume, more than 1 OUT OF 2 processed products still do not mention the country of origin of the meat they contain. Consumers want clear information on the origin of products. Farmers and cooperatives are also willing to make the origin of their products more visible.
“Together, we call on the European Commission to adopt without delay a regulation allowing the consumers to know the origin of the meat in processed products, as it is already the case for raw meat. Because this measure is essential to enhance transparency of supply and improve traceability, join us in calling: "Yes, I want to know where my meat comes from!"
French agriculture minister Stéphane le Foll said earlier this month he intended to put forward a bill to ense origin labelling for processed products in France, in line with demands being made by MEPs at an EU level.
Tweet text: "Producers and consumers together: For mandatory origin labelling on meat, I sign the petition."
Meat us halfway
Speaking of the petition on France Info, FNSEA president Xavier Beulin said: “Obviously we aren’t naïve, we know well that if there are only a few ingredients labelling can’t be justified. However, as soon as a product contains for example more than 50% meat we ask that this product indicates the origin.
“Unfortunately today we have a European Commission that is - let’s go ahead and say it – very liberal in its thinking and direction, and is still refusing to debate these propositions which is profoundly unfortunate.”
Last week, UFC-Que Choisir published results of a survey which analysed 245 products and found 54% of products overall did not state the origin of the meat, rising to 74% for chicken and 57% for pork and a massive 92% for chicken and pork sandwiches.
Meanwhile, French food industry association ANIA said it believed the momentum for origin labelling would naturally grow, fueled by consumer demands.
“In France, the links between the agricultural sector and the manufacturing industry are very close. More than 70% of French agricultural production is processed in France. […] 80% of pork meat used by French characuterie manufacturers comes from outside of France. In this sector, as in others, and particularly beef, poultry and foie gras, voluntary labels," it said a statement.
"If France wishes to make origin labeling compulsory, the initiative will obviously have to comply with European regulations on consumer information and the flow of goods in order not to penalize our businesses and industries in the markets European."