The country of origin labelling can be voluntarily added to the food label by food business manufacturers. The Commission is currently working on a draft implementing Regulation to ensure harmonisation across countries on its implementation.
As part of Regulation 1169/2011, the Commission was requested to submit reports concerning the possibility to extend mandatory origin labelling several food categories including unprocessed foods; single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50 % of a food.
The Commission report was released in 2015. It confirms that introducing a mandatory origin labelling on single ingredient products would lead to segmentation of the internal market, potential trade disruptions, price increases for consumers, nationalization of foods and would entail serious economic and social impacts for the vegetable oil and fat sector. The report further admits that compared to current operations for the sourcing of raw materials, this would have drastic changes and trigger inefficiencies throughout the production process, the labelling and marketing practices.
It further acknowledges that consumers wrongly associate the origin of a product and its quality and safety. For vegetable oils and fats, knowing where the oilseeds come from or where the refining has taken place will not offer meaningful information to consumers about the quality of a product. What matters for the quality is the technology and know-how implemented in the specific refinery. For more information on how origin is conferred to vegetable oils and fats, see FEDIOL guidance here. The Commission report therefore concludes that the best approach is through voluntary origin labelling.
Such report was preceded by a study, involving stakeholder consultations and interviews, whose outcome is available here.
FEDIOL actively engaged on this issue. It conducted a thorough assessment of the implications for its sector, available.
A FEDIOL highlights document is also available here.