Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission
1. Under existing Union rules,(1) the labelling of foods must not mislead the consumer, and particularly, amongst others, as to the characteristics of the food such as the nature, identity, properties, composition, quantity, durability, country of origin or place of provenance, method of manufacture or production. This requirement is the expression of the general principle of food law on the protection of consumers’ interests as laid down in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002.(2)
Fraudulent and deceptive labelling practices can be eliminated with appropriate enforcement of Union food law requirements. Official controls are carried out by the Member States to verify that food placed on the EU market complies with the EU standards, or with applicable national standards where relevant, and appropriate penalties are applied in cases of non-compliance.
2. The Commission has recently taken a number of initiatives aimed at raising awareness of fraudulent practices along the food chain and at strengthening the existing system of official controls and the effectiveness of enforcement in relation to those cases. These actions include inter alia the creation of a network of contact points from the 28 Member States for the purposes of ensuring mutual assistance and cooperation in potential cases of cross-border fraudulent or deceptive practices.
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25.10.2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004 (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18).
Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28.1.2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1).