GREECE – Greece plans to make the country of origin labelling on milk mandatory and is set to vote on a Bill to implement country of origin for its milk products, according to the country’s Agriculture Minister.

The country of origin legislation, which is a growing trend of food labelling in EU countries, has greatly angered the food industry.

The Agriculture Minister Evangelos Apostolou has said that the Greek parliament would vote on a bill regulating the milk labelling next week.

Sources from the ministry however told the measure had already been given go-ahead by the European Commission.

The sources also said the main purpose of the labelling was to ensure that the consumers are not misled.

According to Eurostat, the EU statistics office, Greek fresh milk is the third most expensive in Europe, after Italy and Cyprus.

“Livestock associations have reported cases where milk was sold as fresh without pointing out that it’s coming from abroad,” the sources emphasised.

“If the EU community starts to allow individual countries to take protectionist measures, then it’s the end.

The fragmentation that is going to be created by this is absolutely undermining the single market and the EU should stay firm in this,” Marco Settembri, Nestlé’s CEO Zone Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMENA), told EURACTIV in an interview in July. Settembri is also a board member of FoodDrinkEurope.

Minister Apostolou also pointed out that the bill regulates a reduction in farmers’ payment time to 60 days at most. He stressed out that the government’s goal is to support and shield the bill passage.

Earlier this month, Italy also took similar measures without notifying the European Commission.

The ministries of agriculture and economic development in Italy decided that pasta and rice packaging will have to include origin of durum wheat and rice.

Romes also joined in to extend the measure to tomato products as well.

September 8, 2017