2 February 2012
European Parliament vote against 'X% less' labelling misses opportunity to drive change
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Following this morning's vote by members of the European Parliament against the
European Commission's proposed amendment to allow food manufacturers to use the
'X% less' and 'no added salt' claims on their products, the UK food and drink
industry has expressed disappointment and concerns about the potential impact
industry's reformulation work.
The Food and Drink Federation's Barbara Gallani, Director of Food Safety and
Science, highlights the likely implications for industry and consumers. She
“Today's result is a blow for consumers and industry alike. 'X% less' and 'no
added salt' claims would have supported the food industry's drive to gradually
reformulate products, even where technically challenging, by making consumers
readily aware of health improvements in their favourite products."
“The European Parliament has failed to acknowledge the enormous efforts and
investments that the food and drink manufacturing industry has been putting
product reformulation. The Parliament has also shown a complete lack of
understanding of the technical and consumer acceptance challenges that make
recipes to reduce energy, fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt so difficult."
“The vote against this amendment suggests that MEPs have underestimated both
consumers' ability to read food labels and desire to make informed decisions
the foods that make up their diet. The support given to the amendment by the
European Commission and Member states, coupled with the fact that the ban was
carried by only 15 votes, heightens our disappointment and belief that this was
“Product reformulation is an important part of industry's efforts to improve
consumer health, with data indicating that two thirds of dietary changes are
typically driven from reformulation rather than consumers switching
products. Taking away this incentive to undertake a step-wise approach to the time and
intensive reformulation process will have negative repercussions on progress in
this area. However, in spite of today's hurdle, the food and drink industry
committed to improving public health through reformulation, amongst other
Notes for editors
- The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink
manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector.
- Source: Kantar Worldpanel.
- Under the rules, 378 rules were needed to secure the ban using the European
Parliament's powers of scrutiny. 393 votes were made to ban the claim.
For further information please contact the FDF press Team:
Nicki Hunt on or 020 7420 7132 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Wilhelm or 020 7420 7140 - email@example.com
Sarah Jenkinson or 020 7420 7131 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Taylor or 020 7420 7118 - email@example.com
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