The Council held an orientation debate on the Commission's White Paper on food safety, focussing on questions related to the provision of scientific information to the consumers, the need for information campaigns on nutrition at Community level and on possible Community provisions to regulate claims regarding consumer health protection.
All Member States intervened in favour of transparency, to be provided in a form understandable by the consumers, some highlighting the role of the proposed Food Safety Authority in this area.
In relation to nutritional campaigns Member States felt that most initiatives should be better taken at national or local level in connection with diversity of consumer habits. Complementary action at EU level was not excluded.
Finally, most delegations were open to the introduction of EU provisions to regulate functional claims on food, as outlined by the Commission's White Paper. The need to avoid uncertainty of consumers through such claims was stressed by all.
The President thanked Member States for their contributions and noted that the results of the debate will be a useful input in the preparation of the Presidency progress report to be presented at the Feira European Council of 19-20 June 2000.