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01/03/2008

The European Parliament prepares its report on the Commission's proposal on labelling

The European Parliament is preparing its report on the Commission's proposal on labelling

Background information:

Last 30 January the European Commission adopted a proposal on the provision of food information to consumers. Under the proposal, foodstuffs are required to list the ingredients and to display key nutritional information on the front of the package (including energy value, the amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrates with specific references to sugars and salt). General requirements on how nutrition information should be displayed on food labels are also set out. The proposal does however exempt alcoholic beverages from the obligation to list the ingredients (see art. 20) and to provide for a nutrition declaration (see art. 29.1). Only Mixed alcoholic beverages (alcopops) will have to provide information on their ingredients and nutrient content on the front of the bottle.

Allergens: Food containing allergenic substances (such as peanuts, milk, mustard or fish) must be labelled or the presence of the allergen must be clearly indicated in another way. Fish gelatine or Isinglass used as fining agent in beer and wine are exempted from the labeling requirement and so they are whey, cereals and nuts used for making distillates or ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin for spirit drinks and other beverages containing more than 1,2 % by volume of alcohol.

Alcoholic strength: the proposal establishes that the actual alcoholic strength by volume of beverages containing more than 1,2 % by volume of alcohol shall be indicated by a figure to not more than one decimal place. It shall be followed by the symbol ‘% vol.' and may be preceded by the word ‘alcohol' or the abbreviation ‘alc'.

The directive will have to be adopted by codecision procedure which means that both, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament need to agree on an identical text before the proposal can become law.

Information about the procedure in the Parliament:

The Committee within the Parliament responsible for drafting the report is the Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee)

Rapporteur: Ms Renate Sommer (EPP-ED, Germany)

Shadow rapporteurs:

- For the Socialists (PES): Ms Dorette Corbery (Netherlands)

- For the Liberals (ALDE) Mr Jules Maaten (Netherlands)

- For the Greens: Mr Carl Schlyter (Sweden) and Kathalijne Maria Buitenweg (Netherlands)

- For the United Left - Nordic Green Left: Ms Kartika Tamara Liotard (Netherlands)
- For the Independence/Democracy Group (IND/DEM): Ms Kathy Sinnott (Ireland)

Only the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO Committee) will give its opinion.

The opinion Rapporteur will be the French Socialist Ms Vergnaud (PES, FR).

Shadow rapporteurs:

- For the People's Party (EPP – ED): Mr Heaton-Harris (UK)

- For the Liberals (ALDE): Mr Magor Imre Csibi (Romania)

No other group has nominated a shadow rapporteur.

Timeline for the discussions in the Parliament:

· Initial exchange of views in ENVI - July 16/17

· Completion of draft by rapporteur - Early September

· Consideration of draft report - Oct 6/7

· Deadline for amendments - October 14

· Consideration of amendments 1/2 December

· Vote in ENVI - January

· Vote in Plenary – TBC

More information:

Text of the proposal from the Commission for a regulation on the provision of food information to consumers
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2008:0040:FIN:EN:PDF

Legislative Observatory

http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=196686

European Parliament's Procedure file

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/FindByProcnum.do?lang=2&procnum=COD/2008/0028