‘Voluntary dairy labelling the most suitable solution’ – Commission

Voluntary labelling rules regarding country of origin on dairy products seem to be the most suitable solution to the issue of labelling requirements in the EU, a report by the European Commission has found.

The Commission’s report concluded that the benefits from new compulsory labelling requirements do not clearly outweigh the costs.

It says that voluntary labelling rules seem to be the most suitable solution.

The report found that for mandatory labelling of dairy products there would be an uneven impact on producers, making it more burdensome for some than for others.

Consumer attitudes towards additional information, potential extra costs and technical and administrative requirements arising for businesses and public authorities were all considered in the report.

Consumers responded that they are not willing to pay more for additional information, the Commission says.

The report therefore suggests that the existing options for voluntary labelling could address some consumer demands while retaining flexibility for Member States and food operators.

In the second of two reports by the Commission, it found that consumers are interested in origin labelling for all these food categories.

However, the report found that consumers are less interested in origin labelling for food categories such as meat, meat products and dairy products.

The Commission says that for milk and dairy products, preference was expressed for the country of milking or processing whereas the place where the animal was raised and slaughtered were the main points of interest for meats, with the place of birth attracting less interest.

Consumer surveys reveal that the origin is an important purchase factor for milk, dairy and meat products but only after price, taste, and best before/use by dates, the Commission says.