EU debate on food labelling

Food industry executives and European decision-makers met in Brussels last night for a debate on EU food labelling proposals.

The debate, which was organised by the UK's Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and held at the Bibliotheque Solvay in Brussels, focused on the question: 'Labelling: an effective tool to improve the food literacy of EU consumers?'

Panel members included Dr Renate Sommer MEP, the European Parliament's rapporteur for the proposed EU Labelling Regulation; Professor Klaus Grunert of Aarhus University, who recently conducted a pan-European consumer study into attitudes to labelling; Simon Stannard, the UK's permanent representative to the

EU; Melanie Leech, FDF's director general; and Basil Mathioudakis, heat of unit at DGSanco in the European Commission. Kate Trollope, editor of EU Food Law, acted as moderator.

Speaking at the debate, Ross Warburton, president of FDF, said: "We are proud of the fact that, for more than a decade, UK industry has been leading the way by providing clearer nutritional information on back-of-pack on a voluntary basis.

"In recent years UK manufacturers have also been putting that information on the front of our products in the form of Guideline Daily Amount labelling. In showing such leadership, our sector is again making a real difference for consumers."

EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou gave the keynote address at the dinner, which followed the debate.