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Breakthrough in food labelling negotiations

After hours of difficult negotiations, Parliament's negotiating team and Council and Commission representatives managed late Tuesday night to outline agreements on the remaining issues in the way of an overall political agreement on the new EU legislation on food labelling.

"This is a real breakthrough", commented Parliament's rapporteur Renate Sommer (EPP, DE), after concluding negotiations with the Council on Tuesday night. "After 10 weeks of intensive negotiations, we have managed to come to an agreement", she added.

"As always, the devil is in the details. However, if the outlined agreements can be endorsed by Member States and the political groups in Parliament, we will have a fair solution for all stakeholders. The consumer will get legible and understandable information on food products, while businesses will not be overburdened. Our citizens will have access to more and better information than before: they will be able to identify imitation foods and note the presence of allergens at first glance," explained Ms Sommer.

The draft legislation aims to modernise, simplify and clarify food labelling within the EU. It would change existing rules on information that is compulsory on all labels, such as name, list of ingredients, "best before" or "use by" dates, specific conditions of use, and add a requirement to list key nutritional information. It will be ensured that labels are not misleading and provide the information that consumers need to make choices - without burdening the industry too much.

What`s next

The Council still needs to give its green light, but Parliament's negotiators hope to receive its final confirmation by 22 June. Political groups will also be asked to check and endorse the agreement by this date. The deal will then need to be formally approved by Parliament in a plenary vote and by the Council.

Parliament is expected to vote on the agreement at its July plenary session. If by 22 June the provisional agreement isl not backed either by Council or by the majority of the political groups, Parliament will have a "normal" second reading vote at its July plenary session and the dossier will then go to conciliation.

by S. C.
20 june 2011, World News > Europe

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