France's Hollande urges compulsory labeling amid horsemeat scandal
PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande called for compulsory labeling 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 labeling 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 labeling 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 labeling.
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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