Europe: Yes on country-of-origin, no on traffic lights

Compulsory country-of-origin food labelling could become mandatory for all meat, poultry, dairy products and other single-ingredient products sold in the EU after it was accepted by the European Parliament yesterday. In a first vote on new EU regulation on food labels, the Parliament rejected proposals from left-wing groups to impose a traffic-light system on labels to indicate high, medium or low levels of salt, sugar and fat. The Parliament did, however, support a proposal that fat, saturates, sugar, salt and energy content must be indicated on the front of food packs. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also approved country-of-origin labelling for meat, poultry and fish used as processed food ingredients, albeit subject to impact assessments designed to protect manufacturers from excessive administration. German Christian Democrat MEP Renate Sommer said: “Personally, I am pleased that MEPs did not support traffic light labelling, but I also feel that we can continue to improve the current proposal to better inform consumers.” The proposal now returns to the EU Council of Ministers for further amendment and then MEPs will vote again.

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