SP: European decision on health claims ‘doesn’t go far enough‘

16 May 2006

SP: European decision on health claims ‘doesn’t go far enough‘

The European Parliament today adopted a compromise text designed to check the huge growth of health claims on the labels of food and drink products. The SP is pleased that legislation has finally been enacted, but is greatly concerned at the scope of the exceptions allowed by the new regulation.

Kartika LiotardCommenting on the adopted text, SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard said “Pressure on MEPs from the food and drink industry over the last few months has been enormous. In that respect we can be pleased that a reasonable compromise was nevertheless achieved, because in the past it has turned out that many members are readily persuaded by such campaigns. At least health claims on alcoholic drink will no longer be allowed.”

Unfortunately, during the vote an amendment was carried which will continue in some cases to allow health claims on unhealthy products, in instances where only one component, such as fat, comes above the recommended levels. “Most members have here clearly put the industry lobby before the interests of consumers,” said Ms Liotard. “Misleading consumers in this way has been legalised. Given the spectacular growth of obesity in Europe, this is bad law."

Although the eventually agreed legislative proposal (it remains to be approved by the Council of Ministers) is far from perfect, the SP voted in its favour, as Liotard explained. "If no compromise had been reached, the current uncertain situation could have gone on for years, to the detriment of consumers. This is better than nothing.”

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