The Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) has hit out at industry opposition to its call for food outlets to label the origin of meat on their menus, claiming operators are searching for "excuses" not to do so.
Following the introduction of new legislation in Scotland last month requiring restaurants and other catering outlets to label the country of origin of beef on their menus, Gavin Ellis, chairman of the British Hospitality Association in Scotland, said that the law was "fundamentally flawed".
He said: "It is a perverse decision that takes no account of the difficulties, and cost, of implementing it."
But MLC chief executive Richard Lowe said that while he was sympathetic about implementation difficulties presented to operators, there were ways to get around them. He told Caterer: "Suppliers are legally required to provide the origin of their beef, so it shouldn't be difficult for caterers to pass this information on to customers."
Lowe added that while pre-printed menus could be difficult to update, due to operators often changing suppliers, there are ways around this, and operators could inform customers in different ways.
He said: "Our tack on this is, where there's a will there's a way - and if operators really want to inform their customers, they will find a way to do so."
The BHA said that restaurants and other catering outlets that are keen to label the origin of their meat should only be encouraged to do this as a marketing tool. It should not become a regulatory requirement, the BHA said.