Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Country of Origin Labelling on the Rise in EU Member States – An Analysis under EU law and the EU’s International Trade Obligations

  • Ignacio CARREÑO, Tobias DOLLE and Yury ROVNOV
Abstract

On 1 January 2017, France started a two-year trial of a mandatory country of origin labelling (hereinafter, COOL) scheme, which requires producers of milk, food containing milk products and food containing meat to provide information on the country of origin of the products. The scheme was introduced through Decree No 2016-1137 (i.e. Décret n° 2016-1137 du 19 août 2016 relatif à l’indication de l’origine du lait et du lait et des viandes utilisés en tant qu’ingrédient, 1 hereinafter, the Decree). Before the end of this trial period, France has promised to provide a report to the European Commission (hereinafter, Commission) that would allow it to review consumer patterns and the potential impact on the internal market. In view of the report, the Commission may consider implementing such a scheme in all EU Member States. This article also notes that other EU Member States are introducing their own COOL measures and concludes that, when COOL is being made mandatory, the EU’s international trade obligations must be taken into account by the EU and its Member States.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Ignacio Carreño is a Senior Associate, Tobias Dolle is an Associate and Yury Rovnov was, at the time of writing, a Junior Lawyer at FratiniVergano – European Lawyers, a law firm with offices in Brussels and Singapore that specialises in international trade and food law. An earlier version of this report appeared in Trade Perspectives©, Issue No. 1 of 14 January 2017, available at <http://www.fratinivergano.eu/en/trade-perspectives/>. The authors wish to thank Paolo R. Vergano for his valuable contributions to this article.

Footnotes
References
Hide All

1 JORF n°0194 du 21 août 2016, texte n° 18.

2 Listed in Part II of the Annex to the Decree.

3 Arrêté du 28 septembre 2016 fixant les seuils prévus par le décret n° 2016-1137 du 19 août 2016 relatif à l’indication de l’origine du lait et du lait et des viandes utilisés en tant qu’ingrédient, JORF n°0228 du 30 septembre 2016, texte n° 45.

4 Commission Regulation (EC) No 1580/2007 of 21 December 2007 laying down implementing rules of Council Regulations (EC) No 2200/96, (EC) No 2201/96 and (EC) No 1182/2007 in the fruit and vegetable sector, [2007] OJ L 350/1.

5 Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000 establishing a system for the identification and registration of bovine animals and regarding the labelling of beef and beef products, [2000] OJ L 204/1.

6 Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 of 17 December 1999 on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products, [2000] OJ L 17/22.

7 Commission Regulation (EC) No 1019/2002 of 13 June 2002 on marketing standards for olive oil, [2002] OJ L155/27.

8 Council Directive 2001/110/EC of 20 December 2001 relating to honey, [2002] OJ L 10/47.

9 Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000, supra note 5.

10 Art. 5(4) of Commission Regulation (EC) No 543/2008 of 16 June 2008 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 as regards the marketing standards for poultry meat, [2008] OJ L 157/46.

11 Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, [2011] OJ L 304/18.

12 [2013] OJ L 335/19. For the legislative history, see Ignacio, Carreño, “New EU rules on the country of origin labelling for meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry” (2014) 2 EJRR 2013 .

13 Summary Report of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed held in Brussels on 12 April 2016, DG Sante document sante.ddg2.g.5(2016)2527400, <https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/safety/docs/reg-com_gfl_20160412_sum.pdf> (accessed 28 March 2017).

14 The Summary Report of the SCPAFF on 13–14 September 2016 addresses all three countries: <https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/safety/docs/reg-com_gfl_20160913_sum.pdf> (accessed 28 March 2017).

15 Summary Report of the SCPAFF on 10 October 2016, <https://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/reg-com_gfl_20161010_sum.pdf> (accessed 28 March 2017).

16 Decreto 9 dicembre 2016 Indicazione dell’origine in etichetta della materia prima per il latte e i prodotti lattieri caseari, in attuazione del regolamento (UE) n. 1169/2011, relativo alla fornitura di informazioni sugli alimenti ai consumatori. (17A00291) (GU Serie Generale n.15 del 19-1-2017), <http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/atto/serie_generale/caricaDettaglioAtto/originario?atto.dataPubblicazioneGazzetta=2017-01-19&atto.codiceRedazionale=17A00291&elenco30giorni=true> (accessed 28 March 2017).

17 Vidal Maté, Agricultura obligará a poner el país de origen en los productos lácteos, 13 February 2017, <http://economia.elpais.com/economia/2017/02/12/actualidad/1486909504_261825.html> (accessed 28 March 2017).

18 European Parliament resolution of 11 February 2015 on country of origin labelling for meat in processed food (2014/2875(RSP)), P8_TA(2015)0034.

19 Report of 17 December 2013 from the Commission to the European Parliament and Council regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for meat used as an ingredient, (COM(2013) 755 final), and the accompanying Commission Staff Working document of 17 December 2013 on origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient: consumers’ attitudes, feasibility of possible scenarios and impacts (SWD(2013) 437 final).

20 COM(2015) 205 final.

21 COM(2015) 204 final.

22 Decision in case 1212/2016/PMC concerning the European Commission’s implicit positive decision regarding the French draft decree on mandatory origin labelling for milk and meat, <http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/cases/decision.faces/en/71083/html.bookmark> (accessed 28 March 2017).

23 Oscar, Rousseau, “Pressure mounts on French country-of-origin scheme6 January 2017, <http://www.globalmeatnews.com/Industry-Markets/Criticism-mounts-for-France-s-COOL-scheme> (accessed 28 March 2017).

24 Ibid.

25 The European Association of Dairy Trade (Eucolait), Letter of 29 June 2016 to the Commission in relation to the Italian draft decree on the mandatory indication of origin of milk and milk used as an ingredient, <http://www.eucolait.eu/userfiles/files/Position%20papers/2016_06_29%20%20Eucolait%20letter%20to%20Commissioner%20Andriukaitis%20-%20Italian%20draft%20decree%20on%20mandatory%20origin%20labelling%20for%20dairy.pdf> (accessed 28 March 2017).

26 United States – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements, Request for consultations by Canada, WTO Doc., WT/DS384/1, G/L/874, G/TBT/D/33, G/SPS/GEN/890, G/RO/D/6, 4 December 2008.

27 Dispute concerning the original measure: United States – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements, Report of the Panel, WTO Doc., WT/DS384/R, WT/DS386/R, 18 November 2011; United States – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements, Report of the Appellate Body, WTO Doc., WT/DS384/AB/R, WT/DS386/AB/R, 29 June 2012. Dispute concerning the US’ compliance, through amendments introduced into the original measure, with recommendations made in the original dispute: United States – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements (Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Canada and Mexico), Report of the Panel, WTO Doc., WT/DS384/RW, WT/DS386/RW, 20 October 2014; United States – Certain Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) Requirements (Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Canada and Mexico), Report of the Appellate Body, WTO Doc., WT/DS384/AB/RW, WT/DS386/AB/RW, 18 May 2015.

28 Petros C, Mavroidis and Saggi, KamalWhat is not so cool about US–COOL Regulations? A critical analysis of the Appellate Body’s ruling on US – COOL” (2014) 13(2) World Trade Review 317 .

29 US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, para 453.

30 US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, para 3.

31 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, para 7.317; US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, para 249.

32 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, para 7.327; US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 2, para 310. The Appellate Body clarified: “We […] understand the Panel to have used the term ‘segregation’ to encompass a broad range of activities, including physically segregating animals into different pens or fields or identifying each animal through the use of ear tags or other physical markings [footnote omitted], temporally segregating animals by processing livestock of different origins on different days or at different times [footnote omitted], and segregating animals completely in the sense of choosing to process only livestock of a single origin [footnote omitted]” (US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 2, para 302).

33 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, paras 7.331, 7.346.

34 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, para 7.347.

35 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, paras 7.349, 7.372; US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, paras 289–292.

36 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, paras 7.377–7.378.

37 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, paras 7.381, 7.403–7.404. US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, paras 291–92. For a critique of the Panel’s attribution of these effects to the COOL measure, and of the Appellate Body’s acceptance of the Panel’s analysis, see Mavroidis and Saggi, supra note 28, at 309–14.

38 Art. 2(I) of Décret n° 2016-1137, supra note 1.

39 Cf the remarks in section I.

40 As mentioned above (see section I.), there is harmonised EU law in place on COOL for unprocessed fresh beef and beef products, pre-packaged poultry, and unprocessed fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine, poultry, sheep and goats.

41 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, para 7.320.

42 European Commission Report on COOL for meat, supra note 19, 10.

43 Ibid.

44 For example, in the case of pork, the current EU rules do not require the indication of the place of birth of the animal. See Recital 2 and Art. 5 of European Commission Implementing Regulation No 1337/2013 of 13 December 2013.

45 Two considerations brought the Panel to this conclusion. First, the text of the regulation itself acknowledged that consumers showed no interest in a voluntary COOL regime and were not prepared to pay “sufficiently higher prices” for meat labelled as originating from the US. Second, slaughterhouses bought imported livestock with a significant discount to compensate for the extra COOL costs related to imported livestock. See US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, paras 7.353–7.355. For a critique of the Panel’s attribution of this discount to the US COOL measure, see Mavroidis and Saggi, supra note 28, 309.

46 European Commission Report on COOL for meat, supra note 19, 8.

47 US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, para 347.

48 US – COOL, Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, para 343. See also ibid, para 338, referring to US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, para 7.718.

49 The compliance Panel found that the amended measure had actually increased the record-keeping burden on upstream producers, while allowing, in certain cases, not to indicate on the label all countries where the animals were raised. See US – COOL (Article 21.5), Report of the Panel, supra note 27, paras 7.266, 7.269; US – COOL (Article 21.5), Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, para 5.46.

50 Arts. 2(III, VI), 4 of Décret n° 2016-1137, supra note 1. Similar designations are allowed under the existing EU law. See, for instance, Art. 5 of European Commission Implementing Regulation No 1337/2013 of 13 December 2013.

51 European Commission Report on COOL for meat, supra note 19, p. 10. This estimate was made before the enactment of European Commission Implementing Regulation No 1337/2013 of 13 December 2013 and thus apparently uses as the benchmark the situation that existed before its entry into force.

52 US – COOL (Article 21.5), Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, paras 5.99–5.108.

53 US – COOL, Report of the Panel, supra note 27, paras 7.101, 7.104, 7.106.

54 US – COOL (Article 21.5), Report of the Appellate Body, supra note 27, para 5.106, referring to US – COOL (Article 21.5), Report of the Panel, supra note 27, para 7.273.

55 Art. 1(I)(3) of Décret n° 2016-1137, supra note 1.

56 Supra note 3.

* Ignacio Carreño is a Senior Associate, Tobias Dolle is an Associate and Yury Rovnov was, at the time of writing, a Junior Lawyer at FratiniVergano – European Lawyers, a law firm with offices in Brussels and Singapore that specialises in international trade and food law. An earlier version of this report appeared in Trade Perspectives©, Issue No. 1 of 14 January 2017, available at <http://www.fratinivergano.eu/en/trade-perspectives/>. The authors wish to thank Paolo R. Vergano for his valuable contributions to this article.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

European Journal of Risk Regulation
  • ISSN: 1867-299X
  • EISSN: 2190-8249
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-risk-regulation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 46 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 217 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 21st July 2017 - 23rd July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.