EU: Italy leads protest over UK front-of-pack labels

By Robert Stokes | 19 December 2013

Food manufacturers, including Sharwoods owner Premier Foods, are using the labels

Food manufacturers, including Sharwood's owner Premier Foods, are using the labels

EU member states led by Italy have urged the EU Council of Ministers' agriculture and fisheries committee to establish if the UK's hybrid nutritional labelling scheme breaches the EU Treaty.

At issue is the introduction in the UK of front-of-pack labelling where traffic light colour icons are presented alongside reference intakes, formerly known as guideline daily amounts (GDAs).

Major manufacturers and retailers have adopted the scheme, which was introduced voluntarily in June.

However, Italy argues food operators are pressured to comply, particularly small firms and those supplying own-label products to retailers.

Italy's delegation expressed worry that the scheme would spill over into other EU states, fragmenting the internal market and placing "extra unjustified burdens and related costs" on the industry.

It called for a careful assessment of: the free circulation of food products in the EU; claimed shortcomings of the traffic light coding; and of safeguards for traditional regional food products, bearing EU Quality schemes marks. Italy claims widespread support among other EU states for its protest.

Sectors: Advertising & labelling

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EU: Italy leads protest over UK front-of-pack labels

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