Agriculture MEPs back study into new European quality logo

MEPs on the Agriculture Committee back a study launched into a new "European quality logo" which would be reserved "exclusively for agricultural goods resulting entirely from production in the EU".

This would allow producers to display "their commitment to quality, food safety and respect of all European standards". They were debating a plethora of European Commission proposals to modernise food labelling amid a future overhaul of the Common Agricultural Policy.

The recommendations came in a report drafted by Italian European Freedom and Democracy Member Giancarlo Scotta, that was debated and voted on in Parliament's Agriculture Committee.

Members delivered a strong defence of some existing rules and firmly rejected the merging of the "Protected Designation of Origin" and "Protected Geographical Indication" labelling tools. These are geographical indicators that are designed to protect regional foods, often used for countless hams, cheeses and wines.

The Committee called for a more assertive stance by the EU at the World Trade Organisation to protect such brands from being undercut by competitors or by imitation. This market alone is worth more that €14 bln a year.

"Place of farming" declaration backed

MEPs also supported a mandatory "place of farming" indication if possible and if it does not included excess costs. This would apply to products where 50% of ingredients are farmed or where marketing indicates what it is, for example orange juice it would say where the oranges were from but not the water or other ingredients that go into it.

The Committee also wants the "Traditional Specialties guaranteed" indication to be retained despite the European Commission saying that it does not work.

MEPs are supportive of the new organic logo, which was recently chosen by the public after a public competition. However, they want a greater and clearer definition of what actually constitutes "organic".

Source: European Parliament

Natalie Berkhout

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