EU labelling: freedom of choice likely

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The European Commission (EC) is expected to allow EU member states to choose which front of pack nutrition labelling system they prefer when it...

The European Commission (EC) is expected to allow EU member states to choose which front of pack nutrition labelling system they prefer when it adopts new Food Information Regulations.

The Regulations were due to be announced as Food Manufacture​ went to press. However, big food manufacturers, which wanted a single harmonised approach based on guideline daily amounts (GDAs) imposed across the EU, are unhappy with the development.

Instead of mandatory GDAs or a fully voluntary system for manufacturers, the CIAA, which represents European food and drink manufacturers, feared that four or five different schemes could be used across the EU. This would cause confusion and add to packaging costs for multinational firms marketing products across several countries, it claimed.

CIAA director for consumer information, diet and health, Sabine Nafziger, said: "We were expecting a simplification of the regulations, but we are a little disappointed." However, Nafziger said the CIAA would continue to lobby to get its preferred GDA scheme implemented. "We can improve it even if there is not total harmonisation," she said.

Nafziger claimed there was increasing support for GDAs. She said there was little support for the traffic light system outside the UK. "In the end, it is a matter of research and science, political choice and consensus," she said. But she objected to a compromise solution of colour-coded GDAs, used by retailers such as Asda.