On the occasion of the SCoPAFF General Food Law meeting, held this Thursday 28th April, the European consumer rights organisation foodwatch demands that the European Commission and Member States clarify that the requirements of the EU Food Information Regulation 1169/2011 are fully valid and must be followed by all producers and retailers. This of course also applies to the requirements of Article 4: "Principles governing mandatory food information".
foodwatch International Strategy Director Matthias Wolfschmidt stated:
"If manufacturers decide to change the composition of their products due to shortages or sharply increased prices of individual ingredients, they have a legal obligation to indicate the actual composition of the product on the packaging. This can be done, for example, by adding stickers on the products, in accordance with the requirements of Regulation 1169/2011.”
“According to Regulation 178/2002 Article 17, manufacturers are obliged to comply with European food laws and the competent authorities must ensure that this is actually done. Possible health risks for particularly vulnerable groups, such as allergy sufferers, due to recipe changes must of course be indicated accordingly."
Using the war in Ukraine as an excuse for the deception of European consumers with false ingredient lists is a cynical act on the part of the European food industry.
Derogations to correct labelling of products have already been allowed in several member states including France, Italy, Finland, and the Netherlands.
This means that companies are being given permission to change some ingredients in their products that are becoming difficult or more expensive to source due to the war in the Ukraine. For example sunflower oil is being replaced with palm oil, soya oil or rapeseed oil in food products.
foodwatch insists that any changes in the composition of a product must be clearly labelled. There can be no derogations from correct and honest labelling of a product. Anything less is putting the consumer at risk of potential allergic reactions and is deceptive.