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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Food labelling: final deal one step closer

Parliament's negotiating team has received the Council's green light for the provisional agreement reached last week on new EU legislation on food labelling. The deal, which aims to ensure that food labels become clearer in future, now needs to be approved by Parliament in a plenary vote in July. "The deal is a milestone in the EU`s food legislation that will benefit both the consumer and food business operators", commented Parliament's rapporteur Renate Sommer (EPP, DE), adding that "In future, European citizens will find much more information on the packages than before". The draft legislation aims to modernise, simplify and clarify food labelling within the EU. It would harmonize existing rules on information that is compulsory on all labels, such as list of ingredients, "best before" or "use by" dates, specific conditions of use, and add a requirement to list key nutritional information. For producers and food business operators, it will reduce red tape and strengthen the single market.

The negotiating teams agreed that key nutritional information, such as energy content and amounts of fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt, must be indicated in a legible tabular form on the packaging. All this information would normally have to be expressed per 100g or per 100ml. It could also be expressed per portion and could also be accompanied by guideline daily amounts, after the Commission has defined portion sizes. Concerning the labelling of transfats, MEPs agreed that before introducing any obligation to label food containing transfats, the Commission will have to submit within three years a report on the presence of transfats in food in the EU, which evaluates possible ways to tackle the problem. If neccessary, this report should be accompanied by a legislative proposal.

Source: European Parliament