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MEP urges Commission to tighten up laws on misleading labels

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The use of misleading images of blood oranges on coloured orange juice cartons has been called into question by Giovanni La Via, MEP, saying it is “not fair for the consumers”.

In his question, La Via, member of the European People’s Party and Christian Democrats, says that most juice producers use mainly food colourant mixed with orange juice and claim that their product is pure blood orange juice.

He says that he wants to get an answer from Commission that clearly says this is not allowed.

“I’m waiting for the answer from the commission that is going to say clearly that the producers of juice cannot use images of blood orange if inside there is no blood orange juice and that they cannot use the name ‘blood orange’ on labelling and packaging if they are going to have inside coloured, or mainly coloured juice.”

Although the fruit juice producers specify their use of food colouring in the ingredient’s list, La Via says the use of images is still very misleading to consumers.

Current EU laws state that 'the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs must not mislead the consumer as to the foodstuff’s characteristics or effects', however La Via believes this needs to be stricter.

In 2015, the German Court ruled that no images of natural flavours should be used on packaging to depict artificial flavours, after the packaging of Teekanne’s Felix Raspberry and Vanilla Adventure was deemed misleading.

The packaging boasted natural flavours and showed pictures of vanilla orchids and raspberries but neither of these two flavours were natural. Instead the natural flavours were hibiscus, apple, sweet blackberry leaves, orange peel and rosehip.

Blood oranges are known for their health benefits, being high in Vitamin C and A, calcium, folic acid, and anthocyanins, and are now the primary orange variety grown in Italy.

The Red Orange of Sicily is protection geographical indication (PGI) certified, a certification to protect names of quality agricultural products and foodstuffs from certain regions.

La Via hopes that his question will stop consumers from being misled by packaging and labelling.

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