European Parliament accepts new rules for food labelling 07 Jul 2011
MEPs voted in favour of new labelling rules yesterday in the European Parliament. Food Navigator states that: "Once the legislation is published in the EU Official Journal - expected in October - food companies have three years to adapt to most of the rules, but five years for the new nutrition declaration."
The new compulsory labelling will include use-by dates and nutritional information. Food labels will have to list energy content along with fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugar, protein and salt levels, all expressed per 100 g or 100 ml. All 14 recognised allergens must be highlighted in the list of ingredients. Europolitics.info state that the list of allergens currently contains 14 substances and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will judge whether others should be added in the future.
Existing country of origin labelling, which is currently required for beef, honey, olive oil and fresh fruit and vegetables, will be extended to fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goat and poultry.
'Fake' foods such as cheese made from vegetable oil and water and contain hardly any milk will need to be clearly labelled as saying "made of vegetable oil."
AFP report that in three years time, the European Commission will look at whether to add “trans fats” as well as adding listed ingredients to alcohols.
The Food and Drink Federation has responded to the European Food Information Regulation by saying:
"FDF welcomes the compromise that has been reached on the new European Food Information Regulation on food labelling. The food and drink industry has been providing on-pack nutrition information for some time and supports measures that make it easier for consumers to make informed choices."
"The new legislation requires back of pack nutrition information in tabular format, which is something UK food and drink manufacturers have been providing for many years, responding to consumer demand for more and clearer information."
“We remain concerned about the possible extension of mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL) to foods other than fresh meat. This would create considerable additional costs for food manufacturers without delivering any additional food safety benefits for consumers. On this matter, we welcome the agreement for the European Commission to compile a report on the impact of extending COOL before any further decision is taken.”