A clutch of major supermarkets have thrown their weight behind a new labelling code of practice that aims to end confusion for consumers over pork products’ country of origin.

Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose are among the retailers to have signed up to the voluntary code, which from April will clarify the origin of pork in foods such as sandwiches and pies.

Existing EU legislation states that meat can be labelled and marketed as being British if it was processed in the UK, regardless of where the animal was slaughtered – provoking consternation among shoppers worried about the lower standards of animal welfare of foreign meat suppliers.

Under the new code, pork products on the shelves of the compliant retailers will have to state clearly the meat’s country of origin. The Union flag will only be allowed on packaging of pork that originates in the UK.

“I expect all major retailers to sign up and join those who have already decided to end the confusion for shoppers,” said Defra chief Hilary Benn.

“If they don’t, their customers should ask them why they’re not in favour of clear, honest labelling.”

Read more
Shoppers confused about meat labelling (23 January 2010)
Europe’s pigs suffer ‘utter deprivation’, says animal rights group (21 January 2010)
Just one in three products show country of origin (15 January 2010)