Loose goods remain sticking point for labelling

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Monday, November 23, 2009

European Meat Forum of the International Butchers' Confederation (IBC)
 When Dr. Renate Sommer presents her report on the draft of a new EU food labelling regulation at the end of the month, she will stick to her guns. She remains adamant that loose goods should be excluded from the labelling requirements.

The new food labelling regulation was once again the main talking point at the European Meat Forum of the International Butchers' Confederation in Brussels. The draft produced by the EU Commission does not take smaller businesses' concerns into consideration, criticised the reporter of the EU Environment Committee, Dr. Renate Sommer. Yet it is precisely such businesses which ensure variety: "Our intention is not to create uniformity." The current legal situation should be improved without creating too much bureaucracy.

The CDU politician demanded a reasonable form of basic labelling which covers the main nutrients. A crucial factor here is readability. Foods should not be overloaded with information and loose goods should not be included at all, she felt.

Yet the latter is exactly what the EU Commission is trying to achieve, as Alexandra Nikolakopoulou of Directorate-General Health & Consumers explained. Loose goods generally enjoy the privilege of being served personally to customers by sales staff who can then provide the necessary information. This, however, is not always the case. The Commission therefore also wants the labelling rules to apply to goods which are not prepacked. Each member state, though, is entitled to identify exceptions. But not to include loose goods from the outset would represent a step backwards for consumer protection, she said.
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