Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2016

Council of the EU - Minutes, 14 March 2016

LABELLING – Council discussions: Food labelling – ‘Traffic light’ nutrition labelling

The following is an extract from the minutes of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council Meeting on 14 March 2016:

A number of delegations drew the attention [see link below] of the Council to the impact in the internal market of the use of the voluntary 'traffic light' rating system for food labelling, which is used in some countries to classify foods as more or less healthy by assigning a colour code. In particular, foods recognised as 'quality products', subject to strict (traditional) production rules, would be penalised with a 'red' light and less consumed. They argued in favour of a harmonised EU nutrition labelling system.

The United Kingdom delegation pointed out that the system used in the UK, as a key element of health policy and the fight against obesity, is in line with the food labelling regulation.

The Commission acknowledged that this regulation allows for different voluntary schemes to be used as long as they fulfil legal requirements. A thorough review of the experience gained on the use of voluntary schemes is due by 2017.

The food labelling regulation on the provision of food information to consumers establishes the list of information that has to be available for all foods.

In accordance with this regulation, from 13 December 2016 the indication of a nutrition declaration will become mandatory as regards energy value, fat, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt. Until that date, the nutrition declaration provided on a voluntary basis must comply with legal requirements.

The nutrition declaration should be presented in tabular or linear form but may also be presented in another form, such as through the use of graphical forms or symbols, as long as it meets a number of requirements.

For a copy of the related Council paper available on this site, see:

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