Manufacturers must be more open about foodEuropean Parliament votes for better food labeling

06 July 2011

Packet of meat

New proposals mean all meat packaging will carry 'country of origin' information.

The European Parliament today voted through proposals that will see more comprehensive nutrition labelling and country of origin information on food packaging.

Under the new rules, the country of origin will be displayed on all meat packaging. Great news for consumers, as Which? Research shows that eight out of 10 people think it is important to know where their meat comes from.

British meat?

The European Parliament has also closed the loophole that allowed companies to label food as British just because it was processed in the UK.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said:

'It is time for the food industry to stop making excuses and start providing consistent labelling that works for consumers.'

Nutrition information on food packaging

Alongside the rules on country of origin, food manufacturers will also be required to provide nutrition information on all packaging. This is a step in the right direction, although the proposals do not insist on a universal approach across all food companies.

Research by Which? in 2009 showed that 73% of consumers would be 'confused' by companies each offering different nutrition information on packaging, and we're continuing to campaign for a comprehensive approach that includes traffic light colour coding. Clear and simple labels, with traffic light coding on the front of allows people to make quick decisions about what they are putting into their shopping basket.

Richard Lloyd said:

'It’s disappointing that comprehensive front of pack nutrition labelling, including traffic light colour coding, hasn’t been made compulsory, as that’s what works best for consumers. However, the regulations do allow manufacturers to provide this information voluntarily.'

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