Last minute industry lobbying before labelling vote

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition labelling scheme European union

The industry has made some final lobbying calls before the vote at lunchtime today

EuroCommerce issued a statement yesterday saying that the commerce sector wants the same as consumers: “clarity, reliability and accuracy”.

“So ‘need to know’ elements (energy, fat, saturates, sugar and salt) should be mandatory, with energy on the front of the pack. But consumers do not want information overkill: rules on the placing of other information must be flexible, to allow for variety of packaging and product,”​ it said.

It added that there is no scientifically proven view on what nutrition labelling scheme works best for consumers, so “operators should therefore be free to repeat the mandatory nutrition declaration and/or provide further details using the voluntary labelling scheme of their choice”,

It wants to avoid the imposition of different national scheme, as multiple packaging requirements make barriers which split the single market and create unnecessary costs.

Operators must be able to tailor the labels they use according to packaging size, multilingual labelling requirements and space for branding, EuroCommerce said – all of which affect legibility.

Moreover, non-pre-packaged foods should not be expected to carry the same nutritional info as packaged foods – but info on allergens should always be available.

And liability for compliance on labelling “should be with the first person to place a product on the EU market – be this manufacturer, importer or, for own-brand products, the retailer.”

Food manufacturer views

Barbara Gallani, director of food safety and science at the UK’s Food and Drink Federation called on MEPs to “to deliver European legislation on Food Information that is workable for the very wide range of manufacturers of pre-packed foods".

"It's important to remember that any changes will affect everyone from the manufacturers of high volume products available through the major supermarkets to the person who sells jars of jam at a local farmers' market,”​ she said. “Both on pack nutrition labelling and country of origin labelling are complex issues that we need to get right through a proportionate approach.”

Meanwhile, the Italian food industry association Federalimentare has been calling for the deletion of chapter VI of the draft food information regulation, on the grounds that it will harm competitiveness and confuse consumers.

Chapter VI of the regulation’s proposal would give member states some powers for national provisions as well. It wants to see chapter VI wiped out entirely.

“Member States will be able to prescribe mandatory information on Labels in addition to common norms,”​ Federalimentare said in a presentation seen by, “with motivations which have always been qualified by the European Court of Justice as unsuitable to justify obstacles to the free trade”.

Related topics Policy Labelling

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