BDSI: extended food labelling must remain voluntary

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In the run-up to the publication of the European Commission’s “Farm to Fork strategy for sustainable food”, the Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI) is once again advocating a voluntary labelling system for the visualisation of front-of-pack nutrition information.

The BDSI welcomes and supports the initiative for introducing a visually informative nutrition labelling model to provide consumers with a quick point of reference when deciding to buy food. However, it is the BDSI’s view that a future EU-wide FOP labelling system must remain a voluntary matter, be strictly science-based, non-discriminatory, and must appropriately reflect the complexity of nutrition and dietary recommendations.

“What companies need during the Corona crisis and afterwards are relief measures, not additional burdens. Therefore, a new labelling system for food must remain voluntary at all costs”, says Bastian Fassin, Chairman of the BDSI. “The implementation of new regulatory requirements, such as the conversion of all packaging, will be beyond the financial means of especially small and medium-sized companies in the German confectionery industry.”

A recent survey conducted by the BDSI among its over 200 member companies revealed that the business situation in the German confectionery industry has deteriorated significantly due to the Corona crisis and the accompanying decline in orders and exports. 73% of these companies see the current business outlook as a more challenging one than that of the previous year.

The BDSI calls for the various different labelling models to be examined by the EU Commission without any preconceived views as to the outcome. It is crucial that consumers are free to draw their own clear conclusions about the dietary contribution made by a certain food in terms of its energy and nutrient content.

The Nutri-score label, though a popular subject of public debate, has recently been dealt a blow by consumers themselves. A Europe-wide petition “Pro-Nutri-score” for the mandatory introduction of the Nutri-score label at European level has been withdrawn. The reason for this was a severe shortfall in the minimum number of supporters required. Across the EU, only 111,475 signatures were collected to support the introduction of the Nutri-score model, which is around 10 times fewer than needed. In Germany, the petition found only 4,118 supporters. Over 72,000 signatories would have been needed from Germany.

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