France to bring in mandatory origin labelling for processed food

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

France to bring in mandatory origin labelling for processed food

Related tags: European union

France is set to bring in mandatory country of origin labelling for processed products, with agriculture minister, Stéphane le Foll, saying he was ready to “take the battle to the European level”.

In a speech​ made to the council of ministers this week, Le Foll said the government would put forward a bill to ensure origin labelling for processed products in France, in line with demands being made at an EU level.

The European Commission would be notified, he said. 

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However, speaking at a press conference later in the day, Le Foll said that this would not happen in the next six months, and in the meantime, urged French food manufacturers to meet consumer demands by using the voluntary ‘Meat from France’ logo for processed foods.

Earlier this month, France’s national federation of agricultural syndicates (FNSEA) called on Le Foll to act in a statement in French published on its website.

“It’s down to him to find the means and ways, in Paris as in Brussels, to make original labelling for fresh as well as processed food products widespread, including in the service sector. This is an agricultural demand; it’s also a citizen’s demand.”

Regarding Le Foll's calls, French industry group, the National Association of the Food Industry (ANIA) made the following statement to FoodNavigator: "Consumers are increasingly aware on the origin of the products they consume. This is why labels indicating the origin of France are growing more and more, especially in processed products.  We believe that the origin indication provides a significant competitive advantage for companies indicating it. In order not to penalise the movement of French goods within the European area, it is important that each company shall be able to choose whether to apply such indication or not."

Meanwhile, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) increased pressure on the Commission to act on mandatory country of origin labelling in a draft resolution​ ​this month. The resolution claimed the Commission had overstated the cost of labelling for lightly processed dairy and meat products such as cheese and sausages.

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