More labels for EU foodstuffs

News today that the European Commission has announced the winner of its competition to design an “organic logo”. According to the EC press release:

“From 1st July 2010, the organic logo of the EU will be obligatory on all pre-packaged organic products that have been produced in any of the EU Member States and meet the necessary standards.”

The competition was originally announced back in April of last year, and while the EC believes it will raise awareness of organic farming, from a personal perspective I’m not so sure. The standards required in order for a product to be labelled “organic” are already pretty stringent, and there’s no indication that the standards themselves will change.

Additionally, only 130,000 people voted in the competition. When you factor in that there are 27 EU Member States, and this country alone has something in the order of 50 million citizens, 130,000 represents a tiny proportion of the population.

The introduction of a new labelling intiative adds another level of complexity to the increasingly busy real estate that’s wrapped around our groceries. With a 1 July deadline the race will be on for manufacturers to get the new logo onto qualifying products and out into stores ahead of the competition. But beyond creating additional work for marketing departments and pack designers, are any of us really expecting one more logo to make a difference?

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