Media reports of an EU plan to ban the Union Flag from British meat products are not true.
As explained to The Daily Express before it published today’s article – similar ones have also appeared in the Mail and Telegraph,which did not even contact us – European Commission proposals on the labelling of pre-packaged fresh meat (from sheep, goats, poultry and pigs) will not prevent the use of the Union Jack or of other EU Member State flags. Neither will they prevent the use of additional geographical labels such as Welsh or Scottish. Private logos such as the Red Tractor logo will still be permitted, too.
The Commission is looking to introduce clearer labelling of Member State origin. That will make sure that when customers buy meat labelled as British they know it really is British and not, for example, just imported for slaughter. This will be done without placing unnecessary burdens on producers and retailers.
The Express report – and others in some specialist media – seem to be based on incorrect information received from various sources, including Defra.
Current discussions are focused on “compulsory rules” for labelling of pre-packaged fresh meat – including the clearer specification of Member State of origin mentioned above.
The use of flags and private logos is a different issue. It will be covered under separate proposed rules on “voluntary labels”. This is because – while the Commission has no intention of banning flags and other logos on pre-packaged meat – it does not intend either to propose making them compulsory.