The British Retail Consortium has hit back over claims that the retail industry is failing to include country-of-origin labelling on own brand cheeses.
Farmers For Action has urged retailers to introduce the clear labelling on all own brand cheeses in the aftermath of the horsemeat scandal.
The Farmers’ group said it was ”imperative” that the country of origin was stipulated on the large quantities of cheese purchased from around the world and sold under supermarkets’ own brand labels.
“A large amount of cheese that is coming into the UK currently being sold under supermarket own brand is not matching the standards required by British dairy farmers” - David Handley, FFA
“A large amount of cheese that is coming into the UK currently being sold under supermarket own brand is not matching the standards required by British dairy farmers but yet is being used as a tool to drive down British milk prices,” FFA chairman David Handley said.
“All you have to do is walk into any supermarket today, pick up a home-brand product and it will say it’s packed in Britain… We’re calling for true country-of-origin labelling that will tell the consumer the standard that product is produced at.
“If retailers mean what they say, following the latest food scandal, they should address this with utmost urgency.”
However, Andrew Opie, food director at the British Retail Consortium insisted the FFA should be targeting manufacturers, not retailers.
“Mr Handley is aiming his ire at the wrong sector,” Opie said. “Major retailers are the only companies working to the country of origin labelling principles that have been endorsed by Defra ministers. He would be better off asking manufacturers and other food businesses why they aren’t following retailers’ lead and being clear on country of origin.”