BDSI seeks voluntary labelling scheme for nutritional food labelling

As the European Commission prepares to publish its “Farm to Fork” strategy (Farm to Fork), the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI) has reaffirmed its preference for a voluntary labelling system for displaying nutritional information on the front of food packaging.

According to the organisation, it said that it welcomed the initiative to introduce such a visual scheme (which would apply across all product ranges including confectionery, snacks and bakery items) that it believed would enable consumers to quickly find their way around when buying food.

However, in its opinion, the future front-of-pack labelling system harmonised in the EU must remain voluntary, strictly scientific, non-discriminatory, while also doing justice to the complexity of nutrition and nutritional recommendations.

“What companies need in and after the Corona crisis are relief and not new burdens. That is why a new food labeling system must remain voluntary, ”says Bastian Fassin, chairman of the BDSI. “Small and medium-sized companies in the German confectionery industry will no longer be able to meet new regulatory requirements such as the conversion of all packaging.”

A recent survey by the BDSI of its more than 200 member companies had shown that the business situation of the German confectionery industry had deteriorated significantly due to the corona crisis and the associated drop in orders and exports. Consequently, 73% of companies rate the current business outlook as more difficult than last year.

The BDSI has asserted that different labelling models should be examined by the EU Commission in an open-ended manner. In its view, it is crucial that consumers can draw clear conclusions about the contribution that food makes in terms of energy and nutrient content.

Furthermore, the trade body added that the Nutri-Score label, which is favoured in the public debate, has recently experienced difficulties over consumer protections. For example, a Europe-wide “Pro Nutri-Score” citizens’ initiative for the mandatory introduction of the Nutri-Score at European level was withdrawn.

The reason for this is that the required minimum number of supporters was missed by a large margin. Across the EU, only 111,475 signatures were collected for the introduction of the Nutri-Score, around 10 times as many would have been necessary. In Germany, only 4,118 people supported the petition. Over 72,000 signatories from Germany would have been required.

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