Concerns about the mislabelling of red meat in Northern Ireland were highlighted by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) at a recent meeting with Environmental Health Officers (EHO).

Also present at the meeting were members the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Over the course of the summer UFU members identified a number of examples where lamb found in major retailers was labelled ‘Produced in the UK from New Zealand and Australia’.

This was reported to the authorities and action was taken against those responsible for packaging this lamb.

The UFU stated that it viewed this as a very serious issue for farmers who already comply with strict requirements around traceability and food safety.

The UFU has urged the authorities to monitor this issue carefully and take firm action against those who try to break the law.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to highlight that some small retailers may be misusing the Farm Quality Assurance logo in their shop, with cheap imported meat actually on their shelves instead.

Again the UFU stressed the importance to those present that this was not acceptable.

The UFU would encourage all members to be vigilant for examples of mislabelling of red meat and to report cases to either the UFU or the local Environmental Health Officer.

In April this year new European legislation on country of origin labelling for lamb was introduced meaning that all packaging of fresh lamb had to be labelled with the country where the lamb was reared and slaughtered.