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EU compromise reached on Hungary food-labeling initiative

Following a formal endorsement of EP plenary on July 5th, new EU regulation on food labeling can be put in place. After long negotiations between May 10 and June 14, the EU Ambassadors meeting in Brussels last week, confirmed the second reading agreement.

Pre-packaged foods will now provide ‘mandatory nutrition information,’ which includes the energy value, and the quantities of fat, saturates, carbohydrates, protein, sugars and salt per 100 g, 100 ml or portion. The nutrition declaration is not required only for packages with the largest surface less than 25 cm². Otherwise, surfaces that are less than 80 cm² must use a 0.9-mm font size, while everything bigger than that 1.2-mm font size.

In addition to beef, now fresh meat of swine, sheep and goats, and poultry are obligated to contain the information on the country of origin.

Finally, allergens must be highlighted on the package within the list of ingredients. In addition, the new regulations strengthen the requirements against misleading practices specifically aiming at imitation foods. Consumers will be able to easily recognize what food they are serving on their dining table.

The institutions also asked the Commission to submit a report within three years following the entry into force of the new regulation, giving its assessment of the impacts of possible measures concerning trans fats. This means the provision of information on trans fats to consumers, and restrictions of their use should be examined as well. The Commission should accompany this report with a legislative proposal, if appropriate.