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Minister Smith Reiterates Call for Country of Origin Labelling for Poultry

Speaking at a Poultry and Egg Conference, organised by Bord Bia, in Monaghan today, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, said that "not alone do consumers want country-of-origin information in relation to poultry, but they deserve and are entitled to it"

The Minister said that he and his Department were "acutely conscious of the problem of misleading and deficient labelling" and said that, in relation to a new wide-ranging proposal from the European Commission to consolidate and upgrade the whole area of food labelling legislation, he would "prefer to see an unequivocal provision in the new legislation requiring the country of origin to be indicated on food".

Mr Smith acknowledged that there were difficult challenges facing the poultry and eggs sector and confirmed that he intended to reconvene the Poultry Expert Group, which had been established to review the important issues facing the sector and to identify what steps could be taken to ensure the successful future of the industry. The Minister said that "given the events of the last year and, bearing in mind the rapid pace of change, it was timely to call the Expert Group together again to review its recommendations in the light of current developments and to consider what further issues warrant consideration".

Minister Smith expressed the hope that the reconvened Expert Group can play a very useful role in assisting "this valuable sector, which employs almost 6,000 people and has a combined farmgate value of approximately €150 million annually".

Date Released: 04 November 2008