FEFAC statement on EP report on compound feed labelling

EP vote on feed labeling sets starting point for the simplification of EU feed labeling rules, which will improve competitiveness of EU livestock production
December 13, 2006

FEFAC statement on EP report on compound feed labelling

FEFAC, the European Compound Feed Manufacturers’ Federation, considers the EP report on compound feed labeling adopted in first reading of the EP plenary session on 12 December 2006 as the starting line for the overdue simplification of EU feed labelling rules.

FEFAC President, Prof. Martin Tielen, welcomed the fact that Members of the European Parliament have recognised the need to establish a new balance between livestock farmers’ rights to meaningful product information while maintaining sufficient protection of Intellectual Property rights for feed manufacturers.

The EU feed industry is world leader in developing innovative feed recipes that help farmers to improve their competitiveness while meeting the new EU political objectives regarding sustainable development of livestock production and aquaculture.

The European feed industry regrets however that the majority opinion of MEPs in the political debate in favor of further modifications of the present legislation was rejected for purely formal legal reasons. Thus a major political opportunity was lost to correct the important shortcomings of the current legislation which were well identified by MEPs.

FEFAC therefore fully supports the call of MEPs on EU Commissioner Markos Kyprianou in the political debate and in the new recitals of Directive 2002/2/EC on feed labeling to accelerate the announced simplification proposal on feed labelling which would offer all market partners a satisfactory solution.

The present legal situation remains highly detrimental both to EU livestock producers and the feed industry interests since the required indication of percentage inclusion rates of all feed materials with a tolerance rule of ±15% may mislead the customer while offering no sufficient IP protection.

This requirement has led to an uneven implementation of the legislation in the EU Member States and a large number of legal disputes resulting in partial or full suspension of legislation by national courts. An unstable situation which will persist and may further deteriorate until the adoption of the announced modern EU feed labelling rules. FEFAC members are fully endorsing any agreement at political level which would bring quantitative labelling requirements for feed in line with current EU food labelling requirements.

The European feed industry has successfully implemented safety assurance systems based on the European Feed Manufacturers Code, EFMC, and the new EU feed hygiene legislation (Regulation (EC) No 183/2005) whose principles are equivalent to the food sector and have considerably improved traceability in the feed chain while reducing feed safety related incidents.

FEFAC represents 21 national Associations in 20 EU Member States as well as Associations in Switzerland, Turkey and Norway with observer/associate member status. The European compound feed industry employs over 100,000 persons on app. 4,000 production sites often in rural areas, which offer few employment opportunities.

Farm animals in the EU consume an estimated 450 million tonnes of feed a year, of which 145 million tonnes are produced by the compound feed manufacturers. Turnover of the European compound feed industry is estimated at € 35 billion.