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EU labels: producers again on a war footing

New Commission guidelines risk ruining thousands of businesses

Ceev and Uiv protest: "Our future in a black hole"

Wine labeling sensationally returns to the center of the debate. Today is the publication of the new guidelines from the European Commission, which just two weeks before the entry into force of the regulation (8 December 2023), provide for a new interpretation of the legislation on the appearance that the new labels must have. According to the guidelines, the word "ingredients" must also be present on the label, and all information must be translated into multiple languages.

Far too much for the European Committee of Wine Companies (Comité Vins – Ceev), which is calling for an "urgent modification" of the Guidelines to avoid the destruction of hundreds of millions of wine labels already printed or on the shelves. EU Regulation 2021/2117 published on 6 December 2021, imposes mandatory labeling of the list of ingredients and the nutritional declaration of wines and aromatised wine products starting from 8 December 2023. However, the legislation gives manufacturers the possibility to make the full nutrition declaration and list of ingredients available electronically (e-label). Businesses have welcomed this new regulation which provides an appropriate way to inform consumers and are strongly committed to implementing it quickly.

“Considering the long time required to prepare the information, change the design of the labels and print them, EU wineries started preparing to meet the deadline many months ago. We estimate that today several hundred million labels have already been printed, many of which are already on the shelves,” explained Mauricio González Gordon , president of Ceev. In good faith and in compliance with Regulation (EU) 2021/2117 and all available official information, the vast majority of operators in the wine sector have decided to identify QR-codes with the ISO 2760 registered symbol image.png, universally known for identify a place where information is found.

Disconcertion was also expressed by the general secretary of the Italian Wine Union Paolo Castelletti , who declared: "There is a Europe that sometimes acts as a stepmother with its companies and unfortunately this is happening more and more often with those in our sector. Wine companies, together with Uiv, have always supported transparency towards consumers, as demonstrated by the fact that, first, the entire sector has already adopted the provisions of EU Regulation 2021/2117. Today an about-face - concludes Castelletti - with the surprise of a new interpretation of the regulation which represents a black hole on the future of our businesses".

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EFA News - European Food Agency