In their current form new EU food labelling proposals would make regulatory requirements for the dairy industry more complex and burdensome, claims the European Dairy Association (EDA).
Agreed upon last month by the ENVI committee at the EU parliament, the proposals are now on their way to a second reading by the Council of Ministers.
Ahead of that reading, the EDA has weighed in with its verdict.
Joop Kleibeuker, secretary general of the EDA, said: “The European Dairy Association is in favour of a simplification and harmonisation of European labelling rules. In this respect we can only regret that the proposed regulation is making the requirements even more complex.”
Country of origin concerns
The EDA is particularly concerned by the European Parliament’s request for mandatory country of origin labelling for milk and dairy products.
Under the current agreement, a prior feasibility assessment has not been put forward. The EDA is calling for an assessment to be made because it fears that mandatory labelling is unnecessary.
The trade association said: “As composition and quality of milk in the EU is defined by EU legislation, there is no reason for mandatory origin labelling within the EU for food safety and nutrition considerations.
“Also, milk used for the production of dairy products can be from different origins from one day to another and it would be difficult and expensive to change the label each time these origins change.”
The EDA was also critical about other aspects of the proposed rule changes. On trans fatty acids (TFA), it rejected the call for mandatory labelling arguing the intake in Europe is not a public health concern.
But on some matters the European trade association gave a positive assessment. It supports the Parliament view that front-of-pack nutrition labelling should be voluntary and backs the recommendation that repetition of allergen labelling be avoided. This could occur if allergens had to be labelled in the ingredients list and again on a ‘contains’ label.