Hilary Benn has called on supermarkets and food processors to voluntarily introduce clearer country-of-origin food labelling.

The Defra secretary of state, speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, claimed the recent scare over toxins in Irish pork highlighted the inadequacy of the present regime. "Under current European regulations, a pork pie made in Britain from Danish pork can be labelled British," he said.

Although Government was lobbying Europe for better labelling, Benn claimed there was an opportunity for industry to get ahead. "The EU moves a lot slower than consumer demand," said Benn, who promised to meet food industry representatives to discuss the issue.

However, Colin Smith, chairman of Assured Food Standards, argued that the Red Tractor already represented a successful voluntary mark of quality British production.