Proposed food labels too complicated
Food industry says traffic light label proposals "make unrealistic demands" and would be confusing for consumers
11 September 2008
At a hearing in Brussels earlier this month, both food industry and consumer groups agreed that the current proposed regulation on food labelling is too complicated and does not fulfil its stated aim of making food labelling simpler. Industry stakeholders asserted that the proposals make unrealistic demands regarding font size and will be burdensome for SMEs. Ludger Fischer of the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (EACSME) said it would greatly increase costs, referring to an Austrian Chamber of Commerce study which estimated that the new nutrition information labelling would cost around E6bn. Dr Renate Sommer MEP said she believed the proposed traffic light labelling is actually more confusing for consumers, saying “It would, for example, mean that actually healthy dark bread will be marked as bad due to its content of salt, while the rather unhealthy white bread would get a green point.” Following the hearing a spokesperson for the French Presidency of the EU said that a clearer indication of the Council’s position will be given before the Health and Consumer Affairs Council takes place in December.