Following the report of the European consumer organization BEUC earlier in June, the Commission was asked a range of questions on whether it would take further initiatives in the field of food labelling. The BEUC report highlights food labelling practices to be considered misleading encouraging the European Commission to consider additional legislative measures or a stricter interpretation of the current rules. The questions were raised in the European Parliament to which Commissioner Andriukaitis has replied.
The first question related to whether the Commission had the intent to define the use of quality claims such as ‘natural’. ‘artisan’ and ‘natural’. In his reply Andriukaitis argued that quality terms are often linked to national practices and therefore should be addressed at member state level. A second practice brought forward in the report, is the display of fruit on the packaging while the food in reality barely contains any fruit. The Commission notes that EU legislation precludes misleading practices in general as well as specifically regarding the nature and quantity of food. Moreover, quantitative indication of ingredients is required where ingredients are emphasized by words or visually on the labelling. The application of these rules however lies with the Member States who are responsible to monitor compliance and interpret the rules in relation to the specific practices.
Consequently, the Commission asserts that current EU law is appropriate to deal with the alleged misleading practices and therefore it has no intention to adopt further rules or guidance.
Joint answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the European Commission (Written questions: E-003659/18 , E-003973/18 , E-003879/18) - link