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March 19, 2010

EP Environment Committee Approves Draft Legislation That Would Require Labeling For Nanomaterials In Food

Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 16, 2010, the EP Environment Committee approved draft legislation intended to modernize, simplify, and clarify food labeling within the EU. The legislation would make minor changes to existing rules on required labeling information, such as name, list of ingredients, “best before” or “use by” date, specific conditions of use, and add a requirement to list key nutritional information. The Committee added that showing the country of origin should also be mandatory in some cases. According to EP, the Committee “demand[s] that products containing nano-materials, be clearly labelled as such, using the epithet ‘nano’ in the ingredient list.” To provide industry time to meet the new requirements, the regulation would enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal, but the rules on nutrition labeling would take effect three years thereafter. For food business operators with fewer than 100 employees and an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total under €5 million, the rules would take effect five years thereafter. EP plans its first reading of the proposed legislation in plenary session at the end of May 2010. The Council will then have to adopt its position, before the proposal is again debated in the EP Environment Committee.