EU says no

EU Parliament vetoes labelling claims on reformulated products

With health claims virtually wholly bombed by EFSA, now the European Parliament has voted against allowing companies to flag reformulated recipes on-pack – such as a “Now contains X% less? claim – a move that has been met with dismay by food manufacturers.

Industry body, FoodDrinkEurope, believes that the introduction of a “No added salt(/sodium)” claim and the “now contains X% less” claim would have offered new possibilities to food manufacturers to communicate incremental nutrition changes made to foods to the consumer by comparing old and new recipes. But politicians opposing the new labelling did so on grounds that it could have misled or confused consumers.

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.”

The UK food and drink industry also expressed disappointment and concerns about the potential impact on industry’s reformulation work.

Barbara Gallani, director of food safety and science at the Food and Drink Federation, commented: “Today’s result is a blow for consumers and industry alike. ‘X% less’ and ‘no added salt’ claims would have supported the food industry’s drive to gradually reformulate products.”