The council of EU agriculture ministers approved plans for an EU-wide animal welfare label at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday, December 15).

After the decision, a statement from the council said that the approval “highlights the overarching objective of improving animal welfare for as many food producing animals as possible”.

The agriculture ministers have now asked the European Commission to submit a proposal for an animal welfare label for food produced under welfare standards higher than those in EU legislation.

A common EU label on animal welfare would increase credibility and transparency in our markets and would enable consumers to make more informed choices.

“It would also help reward producers who respect those standards,” said Julia Klockner, the German agriculture minister and chair of the agriculture minister’s council (Germany currently holds the presidency of the EU).

The council called for certain criteria to be taken into account when developing an EU-wide label, including the need to go beyond current EU legal requirements on animal welfare; to gradually include all livestock species in the label covering their whole life (including transport and slaughter); and to ensure “smooth interplay” with existing labels.

Nutrition labelling

Also in yesterday’s meeting, the ministers discussed the draft conclusions on front-of-pack nutrition labelling (FOPNL); nutrient profiles; and origin labelling.

Ministers agreed on the importance of an EU FOPNL with a view to “promoting healthy and sustainable diets”.

The council also encouraged the commission to prepare a legislative proposal for this purpose, based on an impact assessment.

However, there was no unanimous agreement yesterday over the issue of nutrition labelling. The conclusions on this topic will be issued as Klockner’s conclusions with the backing of 23 member states.


Also on the agenda was the recent conference on digitalisation in agriculture, which took place on December 2 and 3.

Klockner told the other ministers that the conference “highlighted the importance of agriculture data and the need for guidelines on how to handle them.”