Source: EU Industry and Entrepreneurship Press Officer
Press Officer of Commissioner Ferdinando Nelli Feroci
However, as the guardian of the treaties, the Commission is looking for the most appropriate and the less trade restrictive means to achieve this objective, while preserving the achievements of the internal market and preventing obstacles to free movement of goods.
Therefore, the Commission invites UK to comment on business complaints about labelling of pre-packed food products.
The Commission has decided to seek information from the UK about front of pack nutrition labelling requirement for pre-packed food products in the UK, following received complaints from food and retail companies and representative organisations asserting that the use of such labelling would negatively affect the marketing of several products.
The Commission is therefore currently examining whether the front of pack nutrition labelling recommendation is compatible with EU law on the free movement of goods (Articles 34-36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).
The UK's June 2013 "Guide to creating a front of pack (FoP) nutrition label for pre-packed products sold through retail outlets" specifies that the FoP scheme includes colour coding (traffic light colours of red, amber and green) of some nutrients, to which descriptors "High", "Medium" or "Low" could be additionally included to reinforce their meaning.
The concern is that the manner in which the FoP labelling scheme was developed, and more specifically its correlation with the traffic light system, is likely to make the marketing of some products more difficult and thus hinder or impede trade between EU countries.
The simplistic character of the traffic light scheme might in certain instances create some misconception as regards the qualities of certain foodstuffs, such as nuts, seeds, and oily fish where significant amounts of fat come from those ingredients and is naturally occurring.
The Commission has now requested that the UK submits explanations concerning different potential issues arising from the development of the Guide. The Commission's request is in the form of a letter of formal notice inviting the UK to submit its observations on the issues within two months.