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Survey of the Uptake of Food Standards Agency Guidance on Country of Origin Labelling


<UL> <LI> To encourage good practice in food labelling, the Agency issued 'Country of Origin Labelling Guidance', which was reissued in 2008. The guidance focuses on meat and meat products.
<LI> The purpose of this survey is to test whether this guidance is being followed in the market place.
<LI> The results will form part of the evidence base for UK negotiating lines for the new European Food Information Regulation.

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Research Approach:
<UL> <LI> The contractor will be collecting and analysing data from food product labels and other sources (e.g. shop display signs).
<LI>Samples will be taken from retail outlets throughout the UK.
<LI>The contactor will be using external experts in the legality of labels to determine whether or not the labels are following Agency guidance.
<LI>The contractor will discuss their findings with producers to give insights into the difficulties of origin labelling.
Results and findings:<BR>
In total, 75% (95% CI 71%:78%) of all products assessed provided an explicit statement of the origin of the product as a whole and in half of these cases the provision of such information was entirely voluntary.

'Produced in' was a popular form of the statement, used for 41% of meat, meat products and dairy products, with the UK being the most frequently identified whole product source (in 45% of cases).
A significant minority of labels carried multiple product or ingredient origin statements, particularly for meat and meat products where media attention on this issue has raised consumer awareness and encouraged companies to highlight local sourcing, through statements such as 'British' or regional references. A survey could perhaps investigate this development in more detail.
The assessments also looked in more detail at the use of implied origin messages in words and pictures as follows:
<ul> <LI>
A third of all products carried implications of product origin, most commonly in pictorial form (e.g. flags). For unprocessed meats, assurance scheme logos represented by far the most common form of implication. The prevalence of implications of product origin on meat and meat products was broadly the same in this survey as in the 2005 survey.
<LI> Dairy products followed the general trend, with a third carrying implications of product origin, often conveyed by flags and/or assurance scheme logos, but fewer fruit, vegetable, fish and sandwich-type products carried implications of product origin.
<LI> Implications of ingredient origin were not prevalent. </ul>

<P>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="; target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.

Campden BRI
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