Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Department of Health and Children
Question 230: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the details of the draft revised food labelling regulations being proposed by the European Commission; if these revised regulations include the mandatory disclosure of origin of food products and ingredients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7492/09]
Question 231: To ask the Minister for Health and Children the timescale for consideration and adoption by the EU Council of Health Ministers of the draft revised food labelling regulations being proposed by the European Commission; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7493/09]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 177, 230 and 231 together.
At present EU food labelling legislation is harmonised by Council Directive 2000/13/EC, transposed in 2002, with seven amendments since. In January 2008, the European Commission presented its proposals on updating and harmonising this legislation. The proposal is still under discussion and it is not expected that the Regulation will be finalised before the end of 2009.
Currently, country of origin must be displayed on the label for beef and veal. The draft EU Commission proposal makes allowance for voluntary Country of Origin Labelling for food products. In addition the Commission has proposed that "where the country of origin or the place of provenance of the food is not the same as the one of its primary ingredient(s), the country of origin or place of provenance of those ingredient(s) shall also be given". Furthermore, it proposes that "for meat, other than beef and veal, the indication on the country of origin or place of provenance may be given as a single place only where animals have been born, reared and slaughtered in the same country or place. In other cases information on each of the different places of birth, rearing and slaughter shall be given".
In November 2008, Ireland submitted a proposal to the Commission that, for all food products, country of origin labelling should be mandatory. This issue is currently being discussed at EU Working Group level. The Department of Health and Children will continue to advocate in support of this proposal.