​Q: Isabella Adinolfi (EFDD, IT) - Labelling of animal food (2015-12-16)

Q: Isabella Adinolfi (EFDD, IT) - Labelling of animal food (2015-12-16)

The manufacturers of pet food promote their products by using striking images designed to grab consumers' attention.

While Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 requires that manufacturers specify ingredients and quantities on labels, it does not lay down any minimum percentage for boasting a specific ingredient in the name of a product. Take, for example, the minimum amount of salmon that a product must contain in order for it to be called ‘salmon paté’.

There are only guidelines, drawn up by producer groups (and therefore non-binding), which fix that amount at 4% — a really ridiculous percentage.

These rules enable manufacturers and/or distributors to create a misleading advertising image, when what they are actually doing is inducing consumers to make uninformed and/or wrong choices, by not enabling them to compare products objectively.

Under Article 6 of Directive 2005/29/EC, these commercial practices could be regarded as ‘misleading actions’ and possibly also be in breach of Article 169 TFEU, designed to protect consumers.

Can the Commission therefore say:

1. what specific measures it intends to take in order to protect consumers fully and effectively;

2.whether it does not consider it necessary to propose an amendment to Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 in order to regulate the labelling aspect more specifically and in greater detail?

A: Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission (2016-02-16)

Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 on the marketing and use of feed establishes the principle that feed labelling shall not mislead the consumer. In particular, it requires that the percentage of a feed material must be indicated in the composition when its presence is emphasised on the labelling in words, pictures or graphics. This provision enables the customer to make an informed choice about the composition of the pet food.

The European Pet Food Industry Federation issued a Code of Practice for the Good Labelling of Pet Food. This Code requires for example at least 4% of salmon if the label says ‘with salmon’. The Code has been endorsed by the Member States' Authorities and the Commission Services and is, therefore, considered to be compliant with the above Regulation. The Commission does not intend to require a minimum inclusion percentage for components emphasised on the label because the mandatory quantitative indication already provides the relevant information.