Mandatory country of origin labelling will 'increase supply chain transparency'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
22 April 2014

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22 April 2014 | Will Green

MEPs have backed a proposal that “made-in” labelling should be mandatory for all non-food products sold in the EU.

The European Parliament (EP) voted to support draft regulations that aim to increase “transparency in the product supply chain” and protect consumers.

Currently around 10 per cent of goods picked up by the EU’s RAPEX alert system, which highlights products posing a health and safety risk, cannot be traced back to the manufacturer according to the EP.

Danish social democrat MEP Christel Schaldermose, the EP’s rapporteur on product safety, said: “This is a big step forward for transparency in the product supply chain, and that is good for consumers.”

The draft regulations cover product safety and market surveillance, including tougher penalties and blacklisting for firms that infringe rules.

Under the proposal EU manufacturers would be able to choose a “made in EU” label or name their country. For goods produced in more than one place, the country of origin would be where it underwent “the last substantial, economically-justified processing” resulting in a new product or representing “an important stage of manufacture”.

Certain products, including medicines and antiques, would be exempt.

However, Schaldermose said she “deeply regretted” that member states have not agreed a common position on the issue and “are thus blocking negotiations on the regulation as a whole”.

The EP voted following a first reading of a product safety legislative package proposed by the European Commission in 2013. The legislation now passes to the European Council.

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