Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - In previous debates here I have supported the principle of having a clear set of rules for appropriate labelling information on beef and beef products. My belief is still that our beef production industry, as well as the consumer, has everything to gain from the customer confidence which a sensible compulsory labelling scheme can provide. Of course, we must have clear information permitting full traceability from farm to plate. There is no doubt or controversy about that, but controversy has surrounded the proposal that category of animal be included. In judging the value of label information, I believe that its relevance to food safety must be foremost in our minds. In a recent exchange of views within our political Group here in Strasbourg, Commissioner Byrne and his cabinet officials stated quite clearly that there was no food safety benefit arising from the categorisation proposal. I cannot support its inclusion. In relation to country or Member State of origin, could I ask Commissioner Fischler to clarify whether, apart from the compulsory information that we are discussing here, information regarding the area of origin, such as Scotland or the Orkney Islands for example, can be displayed prominently on a voluntary basis?

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