Research Handbook on EU Agriculture Law
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Research Handbook on EU Agriculture Law

Edited by Joseph A. McMahon and Michael N. Cardwell

Following the conclusion of the latest round of reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2013, the Research Handbook on EU Agriculture Law provides an up-to-date discussion of these reforms and the changing landscape in which the CAP now operates.
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Chapter 12: Food labelling requirements in European Union law: Creating the right package of measures to achieve the aims of Common Agricultural Policy 2020

Caoimhín MacMaoláin


There is an obvious and direct relationship between the achievement of the aims and objectives of The CAP towards 2020 and the application of food labelling requirements in European Union (EU) EU law. Labelling can be used to improve food security – identifying quality standards, environmental protection measures and high regard for animal welfare. It can also be used to increase the competitiveness of the EU food sector and rural development. EU food labelling legislation underwent its most significant reformulation with the introduction of the Food Law Regulation in 2011, not long after the publication of the European Commission’s Communication on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The new Regulation was first proposed in January 2008. After a relatively protracted procedure, the proposal mostly came into effect during December 2014. Some provisions will not be fully applicable until December 2016. While many of the standard labelling requirements remain the same as they were under the previous framework directives, there are some potentially significant changes made by the introduction of the new legislation. Most notably, nutrient declarations will be made compulsory on all pre-packaged foods, and the origin of many meat products will have to be disclosed to consumers. In both cases, these disclosures are made obligatory for the first time. They should offer consumers more, and better, information. They should also consequently serve to protect the interests of scrupulous producers by reducing the possibilities for deliberately misleading statements to be made on food labelling.

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