CONSUMER POLICY: STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION ON STREAMLINING PRODUCT LABELLING.
Some 25 national laws and two EU Directives currently ensure that consumers can rely on the weight indications on all packed products such as food, hygiene, cleaning products, paints etc. However, national laws vary, leading to increased costs for producers for packaging and labelling. Consumers are faced with different labelling on packages. Consumers meanwhile have to deal with a panoply of different labels on packages. Taking up a recommendation of the SLIM exercise (Simpler Legislation for the Internal Market), the Commission is aiming to streamline the various existing laws into a single directive (currently two), while at the same time sweeping away some 25 different national rules in this area and reducing costs and regulatory headaches for manufacturers.
The aim of the public consultation is to meet consumer concerns and to enumerate costs and benefits for manufacturing and retailing. It covers an extremely diverse variety of consumer products, seeking reactions from consumers, retailers and manufacturers on how information on contents can be made more easily identifiable. For example, is water included in the contents indication for frozen meals? And how should products like cheese in oil be indicated i.e. as drained weight and a separate indication of the liquid medium?
The public consultation follows the advice from a SLIM panel (Simpler Legislation for the Internal Market), which brings together government representatives with those of industry and consumer associations. The SLIM panel suggests maintaining exclusively Community regulation on metrological requirements for packages. The paper lays down definitions in legislation as regards the quantity, drained weight, desiccating products and alternative units such as number of washes in detergents, etc. Legislation would also contain provisions to guarantee the correct filling of packages, e.g. batches, manual filling, differently sized product filling as well as labelling requirements. The issue of whether or not to harmonise the differences in conformity assessment and enforcement is also covered.
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|Date:||Jan 26, 2005|
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