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Commission consults on labelling

The European packaging sector and its customers are being consulted on a possible future harmonisation of European Union [EU] labelling laws for packaged goods.

They have until March 15 to complete an online form provided by the European Commission, which is concerned about wide variations in labelling laws across the EU’s 25 member countries. The process is part of the EU’s SLIM programme [Simpler Legislation for the Internal Market] on streamlining national and EU laws into single European directives or regulations. Brussels also wants EU rules to match international measuring standards developed by the global OIML institution, [the International Organisation of Legal Metrology].

EU industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen says: “This initiative will improve consumer protection while making life easier for producers. With tests and interpretations of the law the same in all member states, manufacturers could look forward to significant cost reductions. With EU rules aligned to international standards, they could market their products anywhere in the world without re-labelling them.”

Verheugen said the consultation would highlight consumer concerns and establish the costs and benefits of reform for manufacturers and retailers. The Commission also wants ideas on how labelling information can be made clearer. Consultation results will be published by June.