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Parliamentary questions
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17 July 2018
Question for written answer E-003973-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Nicola Caputo (S&D)

 Subject:  Quality guarantees in respect of ‘traditional’, ‘artisanal’ and ‘natural’ products
 Answer in writing 

A BEUC report has recently highlighted the ineffectiveness of European labelling standards, especially with regard to three product categories, that is to say industrial products labelled as ‘traditional’, ‘artisanal’ or ‘natural’. Alternatively, manufacturers may use wordings such as ‘Grandmother’s recipe’, thereby giving the impression that the product was the work of skilled artisans. Photographs of fruit, for example, may be used on food and drink packaging to give the impression that the contents are healthy, whereas in fact they consist only very small amounts of fruit, combined with flavourings and other less healthy ingredients. Another example is the use of the term ‘wholemeal’. In countries such as Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, 100% of the flour used to make wholemeal bread must itself be wholemeal. However, this does not apply throughout Europe.

In fact, the problem of misleading labels can be attributed to the lack of precise and specific EU rules regarding the use of certain terms or images.

In view of this, will the Commission seek to establish common definitions of terms such as ‘traditional’, ‘artisanal’ or ‘natural’?

Does it not consider that minimum wholemeal cereal content must be stipulated if the word ‘wholemeal’ figures prominently on the label and minimum fruit content if pictures of fruit are displayed on the front of the packaging?

Original language of question: IT 
Last updated: 1 August 2018Legal notice