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Health and Consumer Protection

Press releases

Brussels, 12 October 2001

Labelling of compound feedingstuffs agreed in conciliation: clear percentages on label

David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection welcomed the result of the conciliation meeting between Council and EP on the labelling of compound feedingstuffs. "This will give farmers clear information about what they feed to their animals. It is a further step in fulfilling my commitment to give full and transparent information on food and animal feed to the general public."

The European Parliament and the Council yesterday concluded the conciliation on the proposed revised directive on the circulation of compound feedingstuffs (79/373/EEC). This directive will mean that each ingredient present in the final mix of feed has to be indicated on the label and its quantity expressed as a percentage. However the comprise between the institutions introduced a generous tolerance of 15 percent. So if for example if wheat is present as ingredient of a compound feed, the label has to say i.e. "30% wheat" but the margin accuracy is 4.5% less or more (4.5% is 15% of 30%).

If a farmer who uses the feed requires the exact percentages of the quantities used he will find on the label the address where he can obtain the information. The Conciliation Committee imposed the obligation of mentioning the E-mail address of the person responsible for putting the information on the label.

The Conciliation Committee requested the Commission to establish a positive list of feed materials. Any feed material not listed on such a positive list should be understood as being forbidden. The co-legislators agreed that a legislative proposal for such a list should be made by the Commission before 31 December 2002 after the completion of a feasibility study.

The Commission had agreed to discuss the establishment of a positive list after the completion of a feasibility study. The Commission insisted again that this task is very complex. Estimates reckon that thousands of ingredients would need to be evaluated to establish a feasible list. Various important factors, such as climatic geographical variation, biodiversity, regional feed practices, international trade and many others need to be carefully considered. There are no criteria how to judge on a compound ingredient for lots of different animals, including exotic ones. Therefore the Commission made a declaration in which it highlights the incompatibility of this request with its ability and capacity to deliver and points to the fact that it also breaches its rights of initiative.

The formal adoption of the texts will take place in one of upcoming sessions of the European Parliament and meetings of the Council of the European Union. It will come into force two years after publication in the Official Journal. 

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FOOD SAFETY | PUBLIC HEALTH | CONSUMER PROTECTION | DIRECTORATE GENERAL "HEALTH & CONSUMER PROTECTION"