17 Dec

Improving the health conscious choices and the welfare of animals were both on the agenda at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of 15 December 2020, in Brussels. Ministers have exchanged views on a harmonized front-of-pack nutrition labelling, nutrient profiles, origin labelling and animal welfare labelling.

Union provisions on food information to consumers set out the mandatory items to be presented on the packaging of food products. The Farm to fork Strategy published by the Commission in spring 2020 pledges to strengthen these provisions in order to empower consumers’ informed, healthier and sustainable choices. Hungary highlighted that a future harmonized front-of-pack nutrition labelling system can contribute to reach these goals if it takes into account the role of single food items in a whole, balanced diet. We have to pay special attention to protect traditional food products and diets. Ministers supported the setting up of nutrient profiles, in order to combat misleading marketing practices. As regards origin labelling, the Council urged the Commission to present a proposal for stricter requirements for origin labelling of honey blends.

Furthermore, Agriculture Ministers approved a common approach for a future implementation of an EU-wide animal welfare label. Such system could provide consumers with more detailed information on the living conditions of animals. The introduction of such a label, and the provisional higher consumer price could encourage producers to implement further actions. Hungary emphasized that besides the voluntary nature of the future system, maintaining the producers’ competitiveness and improving public awareness also need attention.