Transparency 35: Change in European labeling rules
As the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture) is wasted a third of global food production and the European Commission estimated that in Europe are lost about 89 million tons of food a year, that means 179 kilos of food for each person. Also notes to households where more waste is produced, with 42%, of which 60% would be avoidable in manufacturing processes, 39%, 5% in distribution and 14% in the restaurants and catering. About the food waste in households, 86.4% is due to leftover food meals, excessive rations, 63.6% for products damaged due to poor maintenance or excess time and 28.5 % are expired products.
In the Editorial number 21 of Veterinaria Digital on 24th October 2011, we cited the Environment Committee of the European Parliament was studying reform
(spearheaded by Oreste Rossi and Matthias Groote) labeling regulations concerning the expiration date. This reform aimed to save food waste in Europe. Apparently the rules have changed and it is transposed into the legislation of each of the member countries of the Union.
Now the Royal Decree 179/2003 of 14th February has been replaced by Royal Decree 176/2013, of 8th March, which came into force on 29th March and therefore from now on, instead of expiration date the labels will print a date of minimum durability shall freely determine the manufacturer that depending on the characteristics of the product, its method of manufacture and packaging and consumption decision rests with the consumer.
The changes are justified considering that the 2003 rule is obsolete, since current technology allows application and design new packaging techniques that allow to extend the life of products and because if kept cold chain has been well conserved cooled, health authorities claim that are safe to to health consume days after the deadline has been met.
This new situation has provoked different reactions among the sectors involved and the manufacturers see fit to extend the deadline because technological development of cold chains permits and shall conduct a study of the real time consumption so far reported for bureaucratic reasons, the consumer organizations has asked companies to provide greater transparency about the reasons for this change and to “show the scientific criteria have been followed” to make this change and some minister said that for many years “has taken the hair consumers’ associations and some claim that “Without being badly thought it seems that we have been throwing food believing that expired when he did not.”
At the Editorial number 21 of Veterinaria Digital stated: “If the measures are implemented in good faith or in reaction to a food safety issue, although have been counterproductive should merit the disapproval of the current parliament. However, if the measures were implemented under pressure from some lobbying, or intervention in search of personal enrichment and the current Parliament should prosecute the perpetrators and those who enriqueciesen putting it into practice “and then wondered:” dare to condemn offenders? (in the words of Oresti Rossi) “.
The first step has been taken. They have changed the rules of labeling, but the explanation of it is due to improved technologies seems insufficient and we now expect disapproval or condemnation to those who, at least in the last 10 years have led to wastage between 253 and 350 million tons of food (350000000.000 kg) and probably ruined or forced to close to small industries that did not allow “live” by implementing legislation that has proved inadequate and our qualifying criteria of “law fiction”.