Although the vote by members of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee of MEPs this Tuesday was non-binding, several motions for resolutions have already been passed calling for mandatory country of origin labelling for meat and dairy products in processed foods, increasing pressure on the Commission to act.
MEPs also want origin labelling on single-ingredient products and for ingredients that make up over 50% of a food.
Tuesday's ENVI MEP motion for a resolution was adopted 44 votes to 18, and will be put to a full European Parliament vote at a Strasbourg plenary session later this year in either April or May.
The Commission and industry have opposed such additional labelling measures on the grounds it would be complex and expensive and such costs would be passed onto consumers.
But MEPs highlighted a 2013 Eurobarometer survey in which 84% of European respondents said it was necessary to indicate the origin of milk, rising to 88% for meat. Over 90% believed origin labelling was important for processed foods.
“Mandatory indication of the origin of milk, sold as such or used as an ingredient in dairy products, is a useful measure to protect the quality of dairy products, combat food fraud and protect employment in a sector which is going through a severe crisis,” MEPs said.
Meanwhile, fed up with the lack of action at an EU-level, France has already taken steps to bring in its own origin labelling at a national level.
A statement issued by the French Ministry of Agriculture last week said: “The Commission has given its approval in principle for France to test out origin labelling for meat and milk in processed products.”
Minister Stéphane Le Foll has said he hopes to see a national law in place by this summer.