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July 8, 2016

Minister calls for “more truthful” food labelling in Germany

Germany's federal food and agriculture minister has said reforms introduced at the country's food regulatory body will help strengthen guidelines and ensure there is "greater clarity and truth" in terms of information provided on packaging.

Germany’s federal food and agriculture minister has said reforms introduced at the country’s food regulatory body will help strengthen guidelines and ensure there is “greater clarity and truth” in terms of information provided on packaging.

Christian Schmidt said new guidelines, which came into effect at the German Food Code Commission (DLMBK) this month, are designed to bring what is shown on packages on supermarket shelves “more in line with consumer expectations”.

“The product has to be what it says on the tin,” Schmidt said. “In packages of mixed vegetables with asparagus, the asparagus in the pack should match the image on the pack. Poultry sausages must also consist mainly of poultry and not pork.”

The German food code is a series of guidelines that set out to define qualities such as content and texture of more than 2,000 food types.

According to the agriculture ministry, the code covers a wide range of products, such as describing “the features of potato chips and what animal a wiener schnitzel comes from”.

The ministry said it is the role of the DLMBK, and new food commissioners that joined the body this month, to ensure that descriptions of foods are kept up to date and that “they actually reflect what is understood by consumers, manufacturers, retailers and food control authorities”.

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