The BEUC calls for a stronger food labelling regulation

28 June 2018

The European consumer organization BEUC, which represents consumer organizations in ten countries (including Altroconsumo in Italy, CLCV and UFC-Que Choisir in France), asked the European Union to strengthen the rules governing food labelling. The EU law clearly states that food labeling and packaging should not mislead the consumer. However, producers have been taking advantage of gray zones in the European legislation to make their products’ quality appear to be better than it is.

In its report, BEUC highlighted three particularly concerning "tips of the iceberg":

  • "industrial products" labelled as "traditional" or "artisanal";
  • products showing fruit images on the package but containing little or none;
  • bread, biscuits or pasta containing "barley and fibre" labelled as "whole grain".

These practices are undermining consumer trust throughout the European Union. Surveys conducted in Germany and the Netherlands show that over 80% of consumers do not trust food labels and this report shows that they have good reasons. Although pressure from organizations have pushed some manufacturers to make their packaging more honest, the EU should on the one hand firmly define the key terms commonly used on labels and on the other hand should establish the minimum percentages of each ingredient highlighted on the packaging.

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