(Brussels, 21 May 2015) FoodDrinkEurope welcomes the report published yesterday by the European Commission on mandatory origin labelling for unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food. The Commission also published its report on mandatory country of origin labelling for milk and milk products and types of meat other than beef, swine sheep, goat and poultry.
Both reports, which are based on the evidence provided by external independent studies, conclude that voluntary origin labelling is the suitable option to respond to consumer interests for origin labelling while avoiding the severe impact that mandatory rules would have.
The reports show that introducing mandatory origin labelling for these food categories would bring many operational challenges for industry, in particular SMEs. These changes would require radical adaptations in the food chain, and would result in considerable additional costs for companies and public authorities, negatively impacting on the internal market, competitiveness and trade. These costs would ultimately be passed on to the consumer while it is still unclear whether consumers are willing to pay for this additional information.
On the contrary, voluntary origin labelling “maintains selling prices at current levels and still allows consumers to choose products with specific origins if they want to, while it does not affect the competitiveness of food business operators and does not impact internal market and international trade .”
FoodDrinkEurope welcomes this conclusion and notes that food business operators are already providing origin information on a voluntarily basis where a consumer demand exists and where feasible. We therefore ask the European Parliament and the Council to take the findings of these reports into account in view of future discussions on the feasibility of origin labelling for these food categories.
 Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food.