European MEPs vote against mandatory traffic-light labels

Posted by Janice Wong on 18th March 2010

European politicians have voted against imposing traffic-light nutrition labels on foodstuffs sold across the EU.

Members of the European Parliament, sitting on the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, decided against making the use of traffic lights mandatory but said EU member states may adopt national rules.

Two weeks ago, the UK’s Food Standards Agency recommended the use of “flexible” front-of-pack labelling scheme that would include text, traffic lights and Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs).

However, the MEPs urged for labels to include information the country of origin of meat, poultry, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables and other single-ingredient products – as well as for meat, poultry and fish when used as an ingredient in processed food.

The committee also want the EU to add information on added proteins, fibre and natural and artificial trans fats to labels. Under European Commission plans, the inclusion of that information would be voluntary.

The European Parliament as a whole will discuss the issue at the end of May. The European Council will then have to adopt its position, before the proposal is again debated in the Environment Committee.

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