EU Wine Labeling Rule Threatens 'Hundreds of Millions' of Labels

If U.S. producers think our government operates on a whim, ought to take a look at what's happening in Europe.

Two years ago, the European Commission adopted a new regulation requiring wines and aromatised wine products to features a list of ingredients and nutritional value of the contents on the back label. The legislation permitted producers to make the info available via a QR code and gave them two years to come into compliance.

Fair enough. Many people think food and beverage companies benefit when consumers know what they are eating and drinking. But just two weeks before the new label rules take effect, the European Commission published guidelines suggesting the QR code had to be indicated on the label with "ingredients" and not simply "i", which many producers had adopted.

That has producers screaming foul because it's just two weeks before the regulation takes effect, and there's no use up period. That's a problem, Mauricio Gonzalez, president, Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV) says, because “several hundred million labels have already been printed, many of them already on shelves” featuring a QR code with an ‘i’ symbol to indicate ingredients."

Tough, the commission replied. The wine industry has had two years to transition to the new rules. In the commission's view, the "i" can refer to many different types of information. He added the new provisions should be implemented only with the 2024 harvest.

The Drinks Business first reported the story.

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