European Parliament says no to consumer communication about nutrition changes to foods

Date

02 Feb 2012

Sections

Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

Press release

(Brussels, 2 February 2012) FoodDrinkEurope members today expressed their dismay at the outcome of the vote in plenary of the European Parliament on the nutrition claims list endorsed by Member States for use throughout the EU Market.

The Commission‟s proposal would have introduced two new nutrition claims for food operators to communicate about a specific nutrition benefit or important recipe change to the consumer, namely, the “No added salt(/sodium)” claim and the “now contains X% less” claim.

Speaking following the vote, the President of FoodDrinkEurope, Jesús Serafín Pérez, commented:

Today‟s vote in the European Parliament sends a strong signal to consumers and industry on two counts. Firstly, it means that consumers will not be informed of important reformulations to foods so that they can make an informed food choice thus driving positive changes in dietary habits. Secondly, it serves a „bitter pill‟ to food operators who have strived to voluntarily reformulate their products in line with consumer taste and public health expectations over the years. It is difficult to comprehend how Member States who agreed on the merits of informing consumers about these claims, and which were taken up within the EU High Level Group on Nutrition and under the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, yet, Members of the European Parliament have failed to understand that reasoning.

FoodDrinkEurope believes that the introduction of a „Now contains X% less‟ claim would offer new possibilities to food manufacturers to communicate incremental nutrition changes made to foods to the consumer by comparing old and new recipes. Moreover, it is important not to forget about the technological constraints to rolling out the smaller, step-wise reformulations to recipes, in addition to the time and cost involved in doing so, together with the need to gradually familiarise consumers with the new „improved‟ taste of the food.

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For further information:

Lisa McCooey, Deputy Director General/ Director of Communications

Tel.: +32 2 514 11 11, Mob.: +32 476 911 300

l.mccooey@fooddrinkeurope.eu

FoodDrinkEurope‟s mission is to represent the food and drink industries of the EU – the largest manufacturing sector in the EU in terms of turnover and employment. FoodDrinkEurope works with European and international institutions, in order to contribute to the development of a legislative and economic framework addressing the competitiveness of industry, food quality and safety, consumer protection and respect for the environment. FoodDrinkEurope's membership consists of 25 national federations, including 3 observers, 26 European sector associations and 18 major food and drink companies. For more information on FoodDrinkEurope and its activities, visit: www.fooddrinkeurope.eu