The EU commission has appointed the Irish Co-Operative Society ( ICOS ) as key stakeholders on an impact assessment it is running on the feasibility of implementing compulsory origin labelling on dairy.

According to ICOS, countries such as Italy and France have long lobbied for this to be enacted into EU legislation as they attempt to nationalise their dairy industries to cater for their large domestic markets.

The Commission had committed to carrying out a risk assessment on proposals to have compulsory place of farming labelling, and as part of this process, ICOS have been invited to represent European dairy producer interests. According to ICOS, it is strongly against compulsory labelling.

“Our position is simple: Irish co-ops representing the vast bulk of Irish dairy are totally against compulsory labelling,” it outlined in its latest newsletter.

“We export almost 90 per cent of our milk and we feel that suggestions to legislate in this direction are protectionist, of no benefit to consumers, short sighted, would raise costs to all parts of the supply chain, and most importantly go against the very principles of the single market.”

ICOS said it has no problem with any company or country wishing to put origin labelling of any type voluntarily on their products. “But we do object strongly to compulsory regulation of this nature,” it added.

ICOS represents numerous leading multipurpose dairy co-ops in Ireland. The EU commission review is currently under way.