Thursday, 9 December 2010
Food Labelling - The EU Backpedals
I few weeks ago I wrote about how halal meat was entering the food chain without being labelled.
My main concern was that this meat is not slaughtered to British standards and much of it is imported. I was fortunate be provided with information from Osama Saeed who assured me that the majority of halal meat is subject to stunning, although the statistics would appear to cover the UK slaughtered meat only.
Earlier this year MEPs voted in favour of German MEP Renate Sommer's proposed amendment to draft legislation on food labelling which would mean that meat and meat products from ritually slaughtered animals must carry the label 'Meat from slaughter without stunning'.
However on Tuesday the European Council of Ministers today approved a draft of new food information regulation that did not include amendment 205.
The latest move to drop the proposals follows a Europe-wide lobbying campaign by the Jewish food lobby group Shechita UK, which has targeted European Ministers representing their various governments at the Council of Ministers. Shechita UK has argued that unless meat from religiously slaughtered animals is allowed to slip into the general market covertly, the meat will become commercially unviable. Electrical pre-stunning is not allowed under strict Jewish traditions, whereas the practice is acceptable to many British Muslims.
The NSS has been pressing the UK government to support the amendment, arguing where religious exemptions have been made to animal welfare regulations, no more animals should be slaughtered under the exemptions than is necessary for the religious market. In a letter to the NSS just weeks before the latest move, Jim Paice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, signalled the UK Government's intention to oppose the labelling amendment say that he had recently met with Shechita UK to help him "understand the concerns driving their opposition to labelling".
That remark leads me to believe it was the Jewish lobby which halted transparent meat and meat product labelling. It certainly appears to have lobbied Westminster successfully and therefore their religiously slaughtered meat will continue to be covertly slipped into the UK's food chain. Who said we benefit from the EU? If we were a democracy our government would legislate in accordance with the majority's wishes and, as far as I understand, the majority of the population would prefer to know how their meat is slaughtered. If nothing is done I can foresee the day when all UK meat and meat products are halal, mainly to appease one or two religions.
If you don't have a respected butcher near you, stick to what one commenter recommended on my initial post - scotch pies.