France's Hollande urges compulsory labelling amid horsemeat scandal

PARIS Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:34pm GMT

French President Francois Hollande (L) shares a breakfast with farmers during his visit at the 50th International Agricultural Show in Paris, February 23, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

French President Francois Hollande (L) shares a breakfast with farmers during his visit at the 50th International Agricultural Show in Paris, February 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

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PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande called for compulsory labelling and traceability of meat used in processed foods in Europe to prevent a repeat of the horsemeat scandal.

French and German agriculture ministers said on Friday they agreed on the need for origin labelling and would try to find a deal on meat traceability at a meeting of European farm ministers in Brussels on Monday.

"There needs to be traceability, that is what I want from talks on a European level," Hollande said on Saturday.

"We need compulsory labelling on meats that will be used in processed foods," Hollande said at the start of the annual agriculture fair in Paris.

He added that while waiting for European legislation, France would encourage voluntary initiatives to improve labelling.

The EU wants to put regulation in place to avoid a repeat of a scandal that burst after horsemeat was found instead of beef in products around the bloc.

The scandal, which has triggered recalls of ready meals and damaged confidence in Europe's vast food industry, erupted last month when tests carried out in Ireland revealed that some beef products contained horsemeat.

(Reporting by Sybille de la Hamaide, writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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