'Let's use Brexit to fix food labelling' - York MP

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy wants Brexit to be used as an opportunity to improve food labelling
York Outer MP Julian Sturdy wants Brexit to be used as an opportunity to improve food labelling
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BRITAIN should use its departure from the European Union to tighten rules on food labelling, according to a Yorkshire MP.

Julian Sturdy argued Brexit was an opportunity to give consumers and food producers a better deal by closing loopholes in labelling.

Mr Sturdy told MPs: "The strength of British agriculture is essential for maintaining food security, and for the conservation of our countryside and landscapes through the irreplaceable role the sector plays in land management.

"A strong farming sector also sustains our rural communities, especially in more remote areas where there may be fewer alternative sources of employment.

"I know the government is committed to supporting the agricultural sector, support that is all the more important as we facethe challenges and opportunities of leaving the European Union, and developing a comprehensive and accurate food labelling regime is an indispensable element of this."

The York Outer MP called for the Government to impose tougher roles on the way processed meat is labelled as current rules allow products to be labelled "Made in Britain" even if they are made from non-British meat.

Mr Sturdy criticised food sold in supermarkets with labels on the front suggesting they were made from British meat but where the fine print revealed produce from across the EU was included.

He said: "This is all hugely unfair to our own producers, who have gone to great efforts to ensure they produce to high standards demanded in this country, and should not have to see their products labelled as being no different to imports from countries where lower standards prevail.

"It also seriously inhibits consumer choice. We know that many consumers wish to buy British meat, in many cases because of the higher quality and animal welfare standards to which it is produced, with research suggesting some 74 per cemt of people believe it is important that that the meat they buy is of UK origin.

"However, under the current regime they are restricted in their ability to do so."

Mr Sturdy said Brexit was also an opportunity to introduce country of origin labelling for dairy products.