Saeima moves forward clearer food country of origin labels

The Saeima on Thursday, February 29, in the second reading, passed amendments to the law which stipulate that the country of manufacture of the product should be indicated on the price tags of food products.  

The change is intended to promote better consumer awareness of products, and in particular to make it clearer if products were orginally manufactured in aggressor states Russia or Belarus so that ethical consumers can easily choose not to make a purchase.

It is planned that the country of production of the product can be indicated in writing or with an image of the relevant country's flag – however if the product will be manufactured in Russia or Belarus, the information will be indicated only in writing. 

It is planned that the new requirements will be effective from May 15, though before then a third and final parliamentary reading is also necessary. 

Failure to indicate the country of production of a food product at a food outlet may result in a warning or a fine: up to 50 fine units (EUR 250) for an individual person, and up to 200 fine units (EUR 1000) for a legal entity, the amendments state. 

At the meeting of the National Economy, Agrarian, Environmental and Regional Policy Commission of the Saeima, which is responsible for the progress of the bill, the deputies previously decided that the proposed amendments will allow buyers to easily and conveniently determine where the specific product was produced, as well as reduce the opportunities to mislead the buyer, including about the country of origin of the food item. 

Currently, it is stipulated that the country of origin must be indicated on price tags only for certain groups of food products, such as meat, fresh fruits and vegetables. The deputies also pointed out that the country of origin of the goods and the country of manufacture may differ.

Parliamentarians also emphasized at the meeting of the responsible commission that food products whose country of origin or production is Russia or Belarus are still available in some retail outlets as EU sanctions have not been applied on food and drink. An indication of the manufacturer of the product on the price tag is essential so that the buyer does not inadvertently buy the products of these countries, the deputies emphasized. It would also enable the buyer to distinguish local products from products from other countries that are made according to a similar design.


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