Last year we mentioned that the European Commission was busy updating the Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on food ('How many calories/vitamines/etc. are in...? - new Regulation on Food Information'). Apparently, there are more changes to be introduced, but the European Parliament opposed today a new draft of the European Commission that would amend this Regulation ('MEPs veto 'misleading' food labelling changes'). The new amendments would have allowed food producers to label their products as containing a certain 'percentage less' of sugar, salt or fat content (e.g. '15% less sugar') in comparison to what the same product previously contained.
The misleading part may come when consumers compare, e.g. two sorts of sausage of different brands and one has a label '15% less fat' while the other 'reduced fat'. The 'reduced fat' label may be put on a product, pursuant to other EU laws, only if that product has less than 30% of fat in comparison to other similar products. This means that if the producers of a really fat sausage reduce its fat content by 15% they could then label it '15% less fat' but not 'reduced fat' if it isn't 30% lower in fat than other sorts of similar sausage. Consumers may not know that, however, and be convinced that getting a '15% less fat' sausage would be healthier for them than getting a 'reduced fat' sausage. Right. So... back to the drafting board, European Commission!
The resolution is to be found here.