EU food labelling legislation falls short

The European Council has rejected proposals to introduce country-of-origin labelling on meat and meat products, but has agreed to conduct research into the feasibility of implementing such a measure.

The move comes as the EU Parliament drafts legislation to clarify and harmonise existing rules on food labelling.

Current requirements call for certain foods – such as beef, honey, olive oil and fresh fruit and vegetables – to include the country of origin. Many MEPs wanted to extend this to include meat and other single-ingredient products, as well as those which use meat as an ingredient.

However, labelling will be introduced to identify ‘formed meat’, which consists of combined meat parts.

The legislation also fell short of the controversial proposals to identify meat that had been slaughtered without being stunned (in accordance with certain religious practices). 

EU Parliament’s rapporteur Renate Sommer said: “The deal is a milestone in the EU’s food legislation that will benefit both the consumer and food business operators. In future, European citizens will find out much more information on the packages than before.”

Parliament is expected to vote on the agreement in July, but it will also need the Council's agreement before it becomes law. Once the legislation is adopted, food businesses will have three years to adapt to the new rules.


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