FoodDrinkEurope regrets the European Parliament’s call for mandatory origin labelling of certain foods

Date

12 May 2016

Sections

Agriculture & Food
Competition

Press release

(Brussels, 12 May 2016) Following today’s vote in the European Parliament on a Resolution calling for mandatory origin labelling of certain foods, such as milk, dairy and meat products, FoodDrinkEurope reiterates its strong concern with the impact of such a mandatory requirement for businesses, consumers and the environment. Companies all across Europe, small and large alike, would be negatively affected. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), who make up 99% of the European food and drink industry, and particularly those located in border regions, are likely to feel the impact even more.

FoodDrinkEurope highly values transparency and notes that consumers are increasingly interested in information about the origin of the food they buy. In response to this, European food and drink manufacturers are providing the origin of their products and their ingredients on a voluntary basis, led by market demand and where this is feasible from an operational point of view. This approach also helps promote the high quality of European food products throughout the world.

Contrary to what is claimed in the Resolution, costs would increase for “lightly processed” foods, particularly when ingredients are imported from different sources and whose origin varies frequently. Furthermore, real difficulties exist when trying to draw a line between what is “lightly processed” and what is not, given the complexity and diversity of food products and processes.

Mandatory origin labelling would ultimately have a negative impact on the competitiveness of European companies. Forcing companies to provide the country of origin of ingredients in processed foods would require production lines and batches to be differentiated according to country; this would reduce the flexibility to buy from different sources, would make supply chains less efficient, make production more costly and create more food waste. A (re-)nationalisation of supply would not only go against the objectives of the EU Single Market, it could also have a serious impact on raw material prices and, ultimately, consumer prices.

Note to the editor:
FoodDrinkEurope is the organisation of Europe’s food and drink industry, the largest manufacturing sector and leading employer in the EU and a key contributor to its economy (€1.3 trillion turnover, 286,000 companies, 99% SMEs, 4.2 million employees).

Press contact:

Florence Ranson
Director of Communications
Phone: +32 2 5081028                                                    
f.ranson@fooddrinkeurope.eu                 

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