EP and Council reach agreement on labelling of animal feed

The European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on 10 October after conciliation talks on new rules for labelling the ingredients of compound animal feed.

Under the agreement, mandatory labelling will show the exact percentage, by weight, of each ingredient in a sack of animal feed rather than in percentage bands. A margin of about 15 per cent is allowed for the percentage recorded on the label, but manufacturers have to supply farmers with the precise figure, excluding any margin of error, if asked. This tolerance level will be reviewed three years after the directive is implemented under national legislation in the Member States.

Parliament and Council also agreed that the Commission would issue a proposal, on the basis of a feasibility study, for a legally binding ‘positive list’ of authorised feed materials, by 31 December 2002.


  • The president of the Delegation of the EP in Conciliation, Ingo Friedrich, declared that "the European Parliament is largely satisfied with this directive, and the consumer will perceive its effects immediately".


The marketing of compound animal feed was regulated by Directive 79/373/EEC. The purpose of this Directive was to ensure that stock farmers are accurately informed about the composition and use of animal feeds. The initial Directive was rather flexible, and limited itself to the indication of feed materials without stating their quantity. It also allowed producers to declare categories of feed materials instead of the feed materials themselves.

The BSE and dioxin crises over recent years have demonstrated the need for reviewing this Directive. In January 2000, the Commission made a proposal to amend Directive 79/373/EEC. Its purpose is to introduce a compulsory declaration of detailed quantitative and qualitative information about the composition of feed for production animals.


The agreement reached on 10 October is scheduled for debate and approval by the full Parliament in Strasbourg in December.


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