Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Monday, 10 September 2012 18:55 UK

MEPs divided over beef labelling laws

A proposal to remove some of the rules on beef labelling has been given a mixed response by MEPs, during a debate on 10 September 2012.

The European Commission is proposing that the existing labelling scheme be ended, as it claims that the red tape outweighs the benefits to consumers and producers.

It proposes relaxing certain laws that were introduced after the BSE scare of the mid-1990s.

However the parliament's lead negotiator on the proposals, the French centre-right MEP Sophie Auconie, said the vote by the parliament should be postponed, until further negotiations with EU governments and the Commission are carried out.

British Conservative MEP Julie Girling said the move would reduce the administrative burden on the beef sector, but Spanish centre-right MEP Pilar Ayuso said that labelling had been "very useful for consumers".

The draft law would also introduce a voluntary system of electronic identification for cattle, such as through ear tagging, instead of the current system of compulsory registers and databases.

MEPs rejected an amendment that would have created a compulsory electronic identification system within 10 years, although the final vote on the directive was postponed during the daily voting session on 11 September 2012, to allow more time for negotiations.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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