Volume 45 (2008)

Volume 45 (2008) / Issue 4

Caoimhín MacMaoláin, 'Waiter! There’s a beetle in my soup. Yes sir, that’s E120: Disparities between actual individual behaviour and regulating food labelling for the average consumer in EU law' (2008) 45 Common Market Law Review, Issue 4, pp. 1147–1165


This article examines aspects of EU food labelling requirements, explaining how under current law, consumers can still be deceived, misled and confused. It assesses whether this has arisen because of the primacy accorded to other competing policies, asserting that consumers would not be best protected by the introduction of yet further amending legislation. Instead, what needs consideration is the strategic direction of the policy promulgated by existing laws. This article traces the development of EU food labelling laws from the early vertical legislation setting compositional requirements for specific products, through to the most recent, and possible future, horizontal requirements for all foodstuffs. Against this background, the article concentrates on the implementation of particular laws designed to address food–related health concerns, such as the use of additives and the proliferation of obesity related issues. It is concluded that Member States are shackled both by the evolution of current consumer law and the scope afforded to implement new laws relating to the promotion of healthy food, and questions whether the free movement of goods should still be accorded its traditional primacy.

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ISSN: 0165-0750
ID: COLA2008074