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Bakery And Confectionery Foods (Labelling)

Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 11 May 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if the proposed EEC Council directive on the approximation of the laws of member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs for sale to the ultimate consumer were adopted, whether he expects the provisions of Articles 4(1) and 11 would enable bakery and confectionery products to be totally exempted from the need to supply information under Article 3; and, if so, whether such derogation from the primary requirements of the directive would be declared necessary and the Commission notified accordingly;(2) what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to the present proposal for an EEC Council directive on the approximation of the laws of member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs to the ultimate consumer; and if he will make a statement dealing particularly with the effect which the implementation of the same might have on the bakers and confectioners of the United Kingdom;(3) what representations he has received from individual bakers, confectioners and from their trade associations concerning the effect of the implementation of the present proposal for an EEC Council directive on the approximation of the laws of member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs for sale to the ultimate consumer;(4) whether, if the proposed EEC Council directive on the approximation of the laws of member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs for the ultimate consumer were adopted, he expects that British bakers and confectioners would be required to provide full particulars under articles 3 and 5B in respect of each loaf of bread and each item of confectionery sold whether or not prepackaged; if so, what is the estimated cost of providing such information; and what will be the likely percentage increase in the cost of living.

As I said in the House on 21st April—[Vol. 930, c. 517–39]—the Commission's proposals are, in general, acceptable to us. There are however some particular provisions about which we still have reservations. We are seeking to resolve these matters as discussions proceed.We have had 17 letters of representations from bakers and confectioners covering the provisions of the proposed directive in general and ingredient listing and exemptions for the small baker in particular. Officials have met representatives from the food industry covering the interests of bakers and confectioners on twelve occasions.It is proposed that, where food is sold without pre-packaging or where it is packaged on the sales premises at the consumers' request or for immediate sale, member States may adopt their own labelling requirements. Interested organisations representing the food industry and consumers will be consulted on any proposals to introduce such national requirements.It will not be possible until the final form of the directive is known to estimate the cost of implementing its provisions for those foods which will have to comply with them. Our objective is to keep cost increases to a minimum.