BELGIUM, Brussels. The EU Commission is gradually working through the action plan of its "From farm to table" strategy. Preparations are currently underway for a reform of food labeling law.
An EU-wide Nutri-Score? List of ingredients and nutritional information on alcoholic beverages? BBD statement supplemented by visual elements? As envisaged in its farm-to-table strategy, the EU Commission intends to present proposals for amendments to the Food Information Regulation (FIC) by the end of the year - and is now seeking opinions. Companies and associations have until March 7 to tell Brussels what they think of the six labeling proposals.
About the plan to introduce mandatory nutrition labeling on the front of the package - in whatever form. The 13-year-old "nutrient profiles" project is also back on the agenda: this would mean that companies would only be allowed to make limited nutrition and health claims - such as "low fat" - for products that exceed a certain salt or sugar content, for example.
Regarding the plan to extend mandatory origin labeling to more products, the Commission outlines for the first time which products could be affected: Milk in dairy products, meat, rice, durum wheat in pasta, potatoes and tomatoes in tomato products. "Further extension of mandatory origin labeling to other product categories would deprive companies of the flexibility to deviate from the sourcing they have adopted in case of supply chain problems - or it would require constant adaptation of food labeling, resulting in higher costs and more packaging waste," FoodDrinkEurope criticizes.
Nutrition declaration for alcoholic beverages
The idea of revising date labeling terminologically or graphically in order to curb food waste also meets with rejection. According to FoodDrinkEurope, the distinction between best-before date - which is about food safety - and use-by date - which is about quality - has proven its worth. In addition, space on the packs is already tight and consumer education is more important.
The industry is eagerly awaiting whether Brussels will overturn the LMIV exemption for alcohol. While all prepackaged foods must have a list of ingredients and a nutrition declaration, alcoholic beverages of more than 1.2% by volume have so far been exempt. Should this change? If so, should consumer information be the same for all alcohol categories - and will information via QR code suffice?
"Things are moving forward. The Commission wants to keep to its ambitious schedule," observes Peter Loosen of the German Food Association. Labeling issues, meanwhile, make up only a few items in the 27-point catalog of measures in the "From Farm to Table" strategy. "As the first and most important measure, this catalog mentions the proposal 'Legal framework for sustainable food systems.' Here we are still at the very beginning. Similar in principle to what we did in 2002 with the basic food safety regulation, this framework is intended to set out definitions and responsibilities in terms of sustainability," Loosen said. Some time ago, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders referred to the example of energy efficiency labels in the context of sustainability labeling for food.
Brussels 2021 has already ticked off other measures in the strategy, such as the "Code of Conduct for Responsible Business and Marketing Practices in the Food Chain" and the "Emergency Plan for Food Supply and Food Security in Times of Crisis." With its flagship project "From Farm to Table," the EU aims to reduce the environmental footprint of the food system and facilitate the shift to a healthy, sustainable diet.
Source: lebensmittelzeitung.net, fleischwirtschaft.de / dfv Mediengruppe