European Food Labels, the AGRI Committee voted for new and simpler rules

Last 21 June the European Parliament Agricultural Committee voted in favour of simpler rules for food quality labelling. The new rules introduce a simplification and a strengthening of the current labelling rules, to encourage a bigger number of producers to register their agricultural, fishery and aquaculture products and to help consumers being better informed. The new rules would cut the time given to the Commission to respond to a request for registration of labels from 12 to just 6 months. The Committee also shortened the time allowed for raising objections. The proposed new legislation, on which Parliament co-decides with the Council, would provide a single set of rules for quality labelling schemes for foods such as fresh meat, cheese, beers, fruits, vegetables, oils, bread and pastry, etc – produced in a given geographical area or processed in line with a traditional practice. The new rules approved by the Agriculture Committee would also apply to dark chocolate and salt. “Light” and “low-fat” products would be eligible for optional labelling introduced by Member States on a voluntary basis. Wines and spirits would continue to be excluded. The EU symbols associated with the PDO, PGI and TSG labels must be made mandatory for all registered products produced in the EU, said the committee. These labels would have to appear on the product with the reference of the label and the product’s registered name. In the case of the PDO and PGI schemes, a depiction of the geographical area of origin or a symbol referring either to the Member State or the region may also appear on the labeling. The use of the EU logo will continue to be voluntary for products originating in third countries. The report, drafted by MEP Iratxe Garcia Perez (S&D, ES), will be voted at the september European Parliament Plenary sitting  in Strasbourg in September.


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