News 791 views update:Mar 24, 2010

EU votes for COOL law

The European Parliament Environment and Consumer Protection Committee have voted in favor of requiring country of origin (COOL) on meat products to be labeled.

The draft legislation aims to modernize, simplify and clarify food labeling within the EU. It would make minor changes to existing rules on information that is compulsory on all labels, such as name, list of ingredients, "best before" or "use by" date, specific conditions of use, and add a key requirement to list nutritional information .

The European Parliament agreed that key nutritional information, such as amounts of fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugar and salt, must be mandatory for all products, however, they added proteins, fiber and natural and artificial trans-fats, which, under the original Commission proposal, would have been voluntary.

Parliament agreed that the regulation should only give general rules on how information should be displayed and not PRESCRIBE any specific system. This would enable Member States to adopt or retain national labeling rules.

Amendments to prevent them from promoting additional national schemes, provided these do not mine under the EU rules, were rejected.

The new rules were added to Ensure that consumers are not misled by the presentation of food packaging. Members of European Parliament also insisted that foods should not be labeled in a way that could create the impression that they are a different food. Where an ingredient has been replaced, this should be Clearly stated on the label.

Natalie Berkhout

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