Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Mark Williams calls for robust food labelling in the wake of the horsemeat scandal

February 18, 2013 5:34 PM

Ceredigion's Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, Mark Williams, has supported calls for the introduction of more robust and reliable food labeling measures in the wake of the horsemeat scandal, which has seen the Food Standards Agency investigating and ceasing operation at a number of meat processing plants over the last week.

This comesfollowing a meeting held today between the Secretary of State for Defra, Owen Paterson, and retailers and trade bodies, to discuss what is being done to rebuild confidence in the meat industry for consumers.

Commenting, Mark Williams said:

'We must rebuild and restore confidence in our meat industry. I believe this scandal has highlighted, yet again, the need for clear labelling - an issue which Parliament has discussed for one reason or another for many years. As consumers, we have a right to know what we are buying and where it has come from, and retailers and producers have a responsibility to tell us.

'I asked the Defra Minister in the House of Commons last week whether all customers of the meat processing plants where operations have been stopped by the FSA have been contacted, and I received assurances from the Minister. I understand that the Secretary of State has met today with retailers to find out what is being done to restore confidence in the industry, which is helpful, indeed the overwhelming majority of farmers and meat processors in the UK act with complete transparency and integrity. The undertaking of random DNA spot testing, as agreed in Brussels last week to take place across the EU, will go a long way in restoring confidence for consumers, as well as testing and verification of the source of processed beef products across the supply chain in the UK.

'I hope the events of recent weeks will encourage consumers to buy locally, and buy British. We have such a fantastic farming and meat industry in Ceredigion and in Wales, and consumers can have confidence when buying local meat from local butchers.

'I think a clear and reliable food labelling system would be a good step in restoring confidence for consumers, and this should be a priority in the wake of the horsemeat scandal. I am pleased the publication of EU regulation on this issue is being accelerated.'