British Agriculture and Food Labelling

Part of Opposition Day — [6th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 8:01 pm on 24th February 2009.

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Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Minister of State (Farming and the Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 8:01 pm, 24th February 2009

That is precisely the work that we are doing. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that when a case can be made to demonstrate that customers are being misled, that case should be made.

As for the second prize for the worst example—the Marks and Spencer sandwich that the hon. Gentleman mentioned—he did not appear to be quarrelling with the labelling, which is quite clear. Marks and Spencer does not seek to hide the fact that the sandwich—a corned beef sandwich—is made with Brazilian beef. That is stated on the label, and is reasonably well printed. It is the packaging and the marketing to which the hon. Gentleman objected, and in that respect I entirely agree with him. It could, I think, be argued that when such a claim is made and the marketing is carried out in such a way—the advertising is another issue—the country of origin should appear in the same field of view. Otherwise, there is a potential for consumers to be misled. I want to establish whether there are options allowing us to encourage clarity of that kind. When such encouragement does not work— [Interruption.] I shall explain in a moment why we will need to approach the European Commission to make that change.

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