Internal Market & Food Safety
To improve the smooth functioning of the Internal Market, focused on consumer interests, avoiding disproportioned regulatory burdens and trade distorting factors.
- To preserve the specificity of labelling rules for wines, consistently with the comprehensive vertical rules on labelling under the Single Common Market Organization within the Common Agricultural Policy and EC Regulation 1601/91 on aromatised wine products.
- To avoid mandatory labelling of ingredients and energy value for wine products, which would impose heavy economic burdens on the wine sector and breach the functioning of the internal market and international trade, by comforting the exemption for wines and wine-based products from potential horizontal mandatory rules on ingredients, nutriments, origin or health warnings labelling.
- To secure appropriate proportionate rules on mandatory labelling of allergens, by promoting the simplification of language requirements and the use of pictograms as an alternative solution in order to facilitate the proper functioning of the internal Market and international trade.
- To ensure full consistency of the legislation on authorised food additives with the specific EU rules on oenological practices and treatments; and to ensure that any Codex standard on additives or broader oenological practices applicable to wines are based on the OIV and EU specific standards for wines as a baseline, in order to ensure consistency and better prevent market access barriers to third countries and unjustified barriers to international trade.
- To promote a holistic approach on consumer and safety information, including appropriate alternative policies and tools for consumer information.
- To prevent or remove unjustified barriers unilaterally set by MS and hindering the internal market and international trade of wines.
The new EU Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers considerably changes existing legislation on food labelling, and foresees the adoption of implementing measures which are relevant for the wine sector:
Origin of ingredients: by December 2013, the EC is expected to adopt implementing act on the mandatory indication of the origin of ingredients that do not originate from the place of last substantial change (when product origin is voluntarily labelled);
Ingredients and nutritional labelling: while wines and alcohol beverages remained exempted, by 13 December 2014, the EC is expected to produce a report on ingredients and nutrition labelling declaration (in particular the energy value) for alcohol beverages, including justification for possible exemptions, accompanied if appropriate by legislative proposal.
In June 2012, the European Commission adopted new provisions regarding allergens labelling in wines (namely sulphite, milk- or egg-based products used as fining agents in winemaking) which actually exempted wines from harvests 2011 and before, recognised the OIV method of analyses as a reference for detection in finished products, and set up innovative pictograms to be used as a complementary information on a voluntary basis.
In 2011, ANNEX II of Regulation 1333/2008 on authorised food additives was adopted, including an explicit reference to the specific EU CMO rules on Oenological Practices for wines. This Regulation establishes the need for the submission on a case-by-case basis of a specific technical dossier in order to modify Annex II as to adapt it to the technical and commercial innovation while ensuring consumer protection.
At international level, the Additives Committee of CODEX ALIMENTARIUS (GSFA) works towards the adoption of international standards on food additives with i.a. acidity regulation functions, that once adopted could be applicable to wines.
Without prejudice of EU vertical regulations specifically applicable to wine products, wines are also affected by EU general horizontal rules applied to food products in the framework of the broader EU health and consumer protection policy in general, and the EU Food Law in particular, which embraces specific regulations addressing i.a:
- The labelling of foodstuffs, including labelling of ingredients and allergens, to enable European consumers to get comprehensive information on the contents and the composition of food products, and help consumers to make an informed choice while purchasing their foodstuffs;
- Nutrition and health claims made on foodstuffs, laying down harmonised rules across the European Union for the use of nutritional claims;
- Authorized food ingredients – additives, flavourings, enzymes;
- Chemical safety, addressing contaminants, pesticide residues, and food contact material;
- Food hygiene, applicable to all foodstuffs and all food operators through the food chain "from the farm to the fork".