France in pole position on the origin of country label
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After several food scandals, not forgetting the horse meat scandal, France is looking to reassure its consumers. Since mid-August France has imposed a compulsory country of origin labelling. After the French State Council (“Conseil d’Etat”) and the European Commission agreed, the trial period will run for a period of two years, from 1 January 2017 until the end of 2018. COOL requirements will not apply to organic products, according to The National Law Review.
This label was a requirement signed into American legislature that demanded retailers provide country-of-origin labelling for fresh beef, pork and lamb. On 18 December 2015 Congress repealed the "COOL" law and it was signed by President Barack Obama. The EU’s “Food Information to Consumers” (FIC) Regulation 1169/2011 became applicable on 13 December 2014 and replaced food labelling Directive 2000/13/EC, according to the USDA. This regulation has introduced a number of new mandatory labelling requirements, including COOL rules for meat other than beef. Article 26 of the FIC Regulation sets out detailed rules for COOL and lists the different actions the European Commission is required to undertake to further develop COOL rules for other food products and ingredients.
The existing country of origin requirements don’t appear strict enough to France. The Grande Nation urged the European Commission to widen their conditions, also because consumers appear to be more critical of the food they buy. According to a survey from the EU Commission more and more shoppers are concerned about the origin of their food products. In 2014, 84% admitted to being interested in the origin of their food, while one year later that number rose to 90%. This explains why other EU nations are following France’s food model. Especially Italy, Lithuania and Portugal have been active, demanding that the COOL requirements for milk be followed.
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