Food information to consumers
Food labelling helps people to make informed decisions about the food they buy and consume.
For example, when buying meat, consumers may want to know its geographical origin and where it was processed.
For beef this information has been available since the mad cow crisis, but there has been no respective EU legislation governing other meats.
Also, despite the general requirement that "consumers must not be misled" by labelling, food products are often marketed to deceive, as with 'imitation food' such as cheese analogues.
What was the Greens' position?
The Greens believe that food labelling must be comprehensive and easy for all consumers to understand.
We also believe that 'traffic-light' labelling displaying products' energy, sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt contents would provide consumers with helpful indications about their potential impact on health.
In our view, information on product ingredients should be displayed on the front label and transfats should be listed separately.
Labels should include information on nano-food ingredients, on products' places of origin and manufacture, on whether they contain 'formed meat' or 'formed fish', and on allergens.
We advocate the explicit labelling of foods suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?
The Greens succeeded in introducing our basic demands on country of origin labelling, which will become mandatory for meat.
The Commission will also examine whether such a practice is viable for other foodstuffs as well.
A majority in Parliament supported our position on the inclusion of nano-foods in the list of ingredients and on the provision of precise information on the kind of vegetable oil used in a given product.
Moreover, if a producer has added water or protein to increase the weight of its meat product, this needs to be indicated too.
The same applies to products that mimic a single piece of meat, whilst actually being formed out of different pieces.
Which points did the Greens lose?
The Greens were unable to get our amendment advocating traffic-light labelling through the final vote in Parliament.
The EPP supported the European food industry rather than consumers' health concerns and voted against our amendment.
The EPP also blocked front-of-pack labelling and prevented alcoholic beverages from being covered by the Regulation.
Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure
Lead MEP:Renate Sommer (EVP)
Green MEP responsible:Carl Schlyter
Staff contact:Corinna Zerger (Email)