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Commission News Item, 10 August 2021
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT EVALUATION of the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry
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Mandatory country-of-origin labelling provides for the meaningful information on the origin of the swine, poultry, sheep and goat meat to consumers and for control of compliance by competent authorities. Those are among the key findings of the report on the implementation and impact of mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for certain meats, published today by the European Commission.
An evaluation report on the same topic concluded that all the objectives of the origin labelling rules have been globally achieved, and that those rules have been introduced without trade disruptions, obvious increase in prices for consumers and unnecessary burdens on operators and administration.
The evaluation also indicated that consumers’ low understanding of the terms and definitions used on labels leaves room for improvement. Further analysis on potential harmonisation of derogations for ‘certain meats’ with other types of food was also recommended in the evaluation.
Although the evaluation did not detect systemic issues with enforcement of the rules, it identified differences in the quality of controls between EU Member States. Greater exchange and pooling of good control practices could be helpful in monitoring compliance.
According to the evaluation, the effect of the country-of-origin labelling rules on market and trade dynamics was marginal, with the cost of adaptation absorbed in the supply chain and not transferred to consumers. In addition, growing demand for environmental care pushes for continuous efforts to better understand the environmental and market impact of origin labelling rules.
The report to the European Parliament and the Council contributes to the broader assessment of food labelling and information to consumers under the ‘Farm-to-fork’ strategy.
The mandatory country-of-origin labelling on meats of pigs, sheep, goats and poultry (‘certain meats’) is in place since 1st of April 2015 as part of the framework of EU law on provision of food information to consumers (Food Information to Consumers Regulation).
The report is mandated by the above rules (Article 26(4) of FIC Regulation), according to which, within 5 years from the date of application of the new rules, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report evaluating the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for those meat products.
The evaluation undertaken analysed the overall effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of the rules was mainly based on the external support study, completed by the opinion of relevant stakeholders.
(This is available as a separate document from the Commission - Executive Summary)
The evaluation analysed the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of the mandatory origin labelling rules for meats of swine, sheep, goat and poultry, as set out in Regulation (EU) 1337/2013 (the ‘Regulation’). The evaluation covered the EU-28 and the period from the date of application of the Regulation on 1 April 2015.
The evaluation was mainly based on the corresponding external support study, supplemented by an analysis of the opinion of relevant stakeholders, collected through various consultation activities. The Commission deemed the sources of evidence to be accurate and relatively robust for the purposes of the evaluation. It should be noted however, that certain data limitations led to less granular results and an uneven level of detail for the respective evaluation criteria. The main findings of the evaluation are summarised in the points below.
The evaluation identified room for:
The experience gained from the implementation and assessment of the Regulation contributes to the European Commission’s report to the European Parliament and the Council evaluating mandatory origin labelling for the concerned meats. It will also be relevant for a broader assessment of food labelling and information to consumers under the ‘farm-to-fork’ strategy.