EU Council reaches agreement on food labelling and leaves alcohol out
Brussels, 7 December 2010. The Council of the EU has reached political agreement, at first reading, on a controversial piece of legislation on food information to consumers. The aim of this new piece of legislation is to ensure that food labels carry essential information in a clear and legible way, enabling herewith consumers to make informed and balanced dietary choices.
The Council agreed to exempt certain alcoholic beverages (such as wines, products derived from aromatized wines, mead, beer, spirits, but not alcopops) from nutrition labelling rules as well as from the indication of the list of ingredients. The Commission should, however, examine within five years after the entry into force of the new regulation if this exemption is still justified.
“the Commission will produce a report within five years of the entry into force of this Regulation addressing whether some categories of beverages should be exempted, in particular, from providing the information on the energy value, and the reasons justifying possible exemptions, taking into account the need to ensure coherence with other relevant European Union policies. The Commission may also propose, if necessary, specific requirements in the context of this Regulation”.
The draft regulation also provides that in order to encourage food business operators to provide on a voluntary basis the information contained in the nutrition declaration for foods like alcoholic beverages that may be exempted from the nutrition declaration, the possibility should be given to only declare limited elements of the nutrition declaration. It is nevertheless appropriate to clearly establish the information that may be provided on a voluntary basis in order to avoid the consumer to be misled by the free choice of the food business operator.
The Council is now expected to adopt its conclusions at the end of February or early March and the second reading in the European Parliament is likely to take place in July 2011.
The European Parliament adopted its first-reading position on