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Food Imports

House of Lords written question – answered on 13th May 2002.

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Photo of Baroness Byford Baroness Byford Conservative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they accept that some food imported into the United Kingdom is produced to lesser standards than required of United Kingdom farmers; and whether they will consider (a) demanding stricter labelling and greater information on the food product or (b) banning such products.

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health)

Food imported into the United Kingdom must meet food safety standards at least equivalent to those required of UK producers. Banning imports produced to these standards is illegal under the Treaty of Rome and World Trade Organisation rules.

The Government are in favour of positive labelling to highlight the advantages of high British standards, for example of animal welfare. The Food Standards Agency is taking the lead in pressing for changes to European labelling rules to require country of origin labelling on a wider range of foods, particularly meat products. It is also pressing for changes that would prevent misleading labelling by restricting the use of terms like "product of . . ." to those foods where the main ingredients come from, and production processes occur in, the named place or country.

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