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Minister Sargent Highlights Importance Of Labelling After Unlabelled Irish And Imported Non-EU Scallions Confuse Irish Shoppers

May is the month when locally grown scallions come into season. Up to now shops have been stocking produce from outside the EU.

Minister Sargent, who met recently with horticulture industry representatives, said: "I am hopeful that Irish scallions will soon be more easily identified by the consumer." For fresh fruit and vegetables, the EU currently has 36 specific marketing standards that include quality criteria and strict labelling provisions, including country of origin. As part of the reform of the common organisation of the market for fruit and vegetables, a number of the existing specific standards will be replaced shortly by a general standard which will apply to all fruit and vegetables, including scallions. That general marketing standard will require retailers to display particulars of the country of origin prominently and legibly and in such a way as not to mislead the consumer."This will ensure that consumers will be able to clearly identify the scallions that are Irish and those that are not."

Scallions have traditionally been a salad crop, but increasingly they now feature in stir-fries and soups. Scallion growing on a farm scale is labour intensive. Accordingly the more Irish scallions sold, the greater the potential employment in Ireland.

21 May 2008

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Photo Caption: Minister Trevor Sargent is pictured with farmer Paul Carroll in his field of scallions in May near Donabate, Co Dublin.

Mr Carroll in Lusk, Co Dublin, who also grows a wide range of other vegetables, employs 80 people locally.

Date Released: 21 May 2008