Greece and Finland to trial country of origin labelling for dairy

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/Smartinn69
© iStock/Smartinn69

Related tags: Origin labelling, European union

Greece and Finland are the latest countries to request a trial period for country of origin labelling on milk and dairy products.

The Greek notification to the European Commission relates to origin labelling for milk, dairy products and rabbit meat, while the Finnish request relates to milk and mead.

The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed will exchange views on both notifications next Monday (10th​ October).

Italy will also trial origin labelling for milk and dairy products, while Lithuania and Portugal will do so for “some milk products”.

The Commission recently gave the green light to France for a two-year trial period of origin labelling for meat and dairy products, prompting a spate of requests from other member states.

According to the EU regulation on food information to consumers (FIC), member states are allowed to introduce additional mandatory labelling particulars for specific food categories - including on indication of origin - if they are justified on grounds of the protection of public health or consumers, among other issues.

"This means that, in principle, national measures introducing mandatory origin labelling are indeed allowed," ​a spokesperson previously told this publication.

However the Commission has said it will approve other member state requests as long as they are for a limited period of time.

Calls have been mounting in the UK​ for labelling for milk in processed foods. The National Farmers’ Union sent an open letter to Andrea Leadsom, head of the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affair (DEFRA).

But the wave of origin labelling has been opposed by many industry groups, including European food lobby FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) as well as the European Dairy Association (EDA). They argue it will negatively impact producers located near border regions (who may source their milk from dairies in different countries), push up consumer prices and hinder trade in the single market.

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