The draft law gives six options on how to list origin, which include ‘EU, ‘non-EU’ or ‘EU and non-EU’; the region or geographical area of the member state or country; the FAO fishing area or sea; the member state or third country; or the country of origin or place of provenance of the primary ingredient.
Manufacturers could also add a sentence to convey this effect. For instance on a yoghurt made in France, they could write: ‘The milk does not originate from France’.
“Customary and generic names including geographic terms that literally indicate origin, but whose common understanding is not an indication of origin or place of provenance of the food, should not be covered by this Regulation,” it reads.
According to the draft legislation, the rules would not apply to protected origin products or trademarked goods “pending the adoption of specific rules concerning the application of [the labelling rules] to foods bearing such indications” – indicating some leeway for a possible change in the future.
The information, which would apply from 1 April 2019, must also be written in a minimum font size.
However, a Commission spokesperson told Euractiv that manufacturers would be able to choose whether to label the origin of a food product, suggesting the format for labelling origin information of primary ingredients will be regulated, and there will not be a blanket requirement affecting all food business operators.