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BEUC statement on food labelling

30 January 2008
by eub2 -- last modified 30 January 2008

BEUC welcomes the Commission's intention to tackle the severe problem of obesity by using a regulatory approach concerning nutrition labelling. We believe indeed that only mandatory requirements will allow consumers across Europe to be properly informed and make appropriate choices for a healthy diet.


We are therefore pleased to see that it will become mandatory for operators to label four important nutrients plus energy on the front of pack. We regret however that the Commission is not offering consumers an EU wide multiple colour coding scheme that would help them to judge at a glance the nutritional value of a particular food.
Scientific evidence shows that:

  • a multiple colour coding scheme works best for consumers as it gives a quick interpretation of what the levels of key nutrients mean (high, medium or low)
  • a multiple colour coding scheme is easy for consumers to understand

We are also disappointed that the declaration of other key nutrients of public health significance will be voluntary. Consumer organisations across Europe are unanimously calling for a mandatory labelling of the 'big 8' (protein, fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt, carbohydrates, fibre and energy) plus trans fats on the back of pack.
We welcome the fact that legibility (contrast, size of letters, etc.) will be improved and that people suffering from allergies will be better protected in restaurants, catering establishments and when they eat non-pre-packed food.
Monique Goyens, BEUC Director General, said: "We welcome the Commission's intention to impose binding rules on nutrition labelling for the food industry. However, to be really meaningful, the information which is provided must be comprehensive and easily understandable and some improvements are clearly needed on these points."

The European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) was created in 1962 by the consumer organisations of Belgium, Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. After working together for a number of years, these organisations decided to create a European association, based in Brussels, right at the heart of Community policy. BEUC was a pioneer, one of the first lobbying organisations to set up base in the European capital in a bid to influence the decision-making process.

BEUC - The European Consumers' Organisation