In the wake of the Irish pork scare, UK environment secretary Hilary Benn has called for supermarkets and food companies to provide consumers with clearer information on the origin of food products.

"When you buy a car you know its service history. When you buy a house you get a detailed survey. So why do we accept knowing so much less about what we are putting into our bodies?" Benn said during a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference.

"Under current European regulations, a pork pie processed in Britain from Danish pork can legitimately be labelled as a British pie. That's a nonsense and it needs to change."

Benn said that the UK government was pressing Europe to tighten labelling requirements, so that food manufacturers would be compelled to indicate where an animal was born, reared and slaughtered.

In the meantime, Benn said that he planned to meet food industry representatives to discuss how manufacturers could "get ahead here by voluntarily introducing country-of-origin labelling".

Benn urged consumers to "buy British" during their grocery shop.

"I want British agriculture to produce as much food as possible. No ifs, no buts. We could produce more fruit and vegetables here in the UK - the market is there, so what's holding us back? If there's demand then production should follow. So the answer is to buy more British and eat more British," he said.