Such information is already provided for beef sold loose without packaging, but not for other meats.
“This is a further step in providing consumers with more practical information regarding the origin of the meat they consume,” said Coveney. “EU regulations for mandatory origin labelling refer only to pre-packed meat, but also allow member states to go further and extend the same rules to loose meat.
“I believe this can be done at little extra cost, using existing traceability systems, and that it would be warmly welcomed by consumers.
“At the same time, it is important that stakeholders, including consumers, retailers, farmers and processors, have the opportunity to input to the development of these new rules and to identify any concerns they may have. This is the purpose of the consultation launched today and I would encourage all parties to contribute.”
Mandatory country-of-origin labelling on packaged meat was introduced across Europe in April. At the time, Coveney signalled his intention to extend the rules to also cover non-prepacked meat sold loose through refrigerated counters in retail outlets, including butchers' shops.
The proposed new rules would cover unprocessed meat from pigs, poultry, sheep and goats, and are being considered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in conjunction with the Department of Health.
These rules for loose meat would mean consumers would be informed as to the EU member state or third country where the animals concerned were reared and slaughtered.
The FSAI is undertaking this consultation process on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which will run until 31 August. More information and details on the consultation process can be found at https://www.fsai.ie/consultations/