Austria adds mandatory origin labelling for more products

The Austrian government has agreed on the introduction of mandatory origin labeling for milk, meat and eggs in processed products and in public catering. The aim is for this regulation to come into force next year, according to Chancellor Karl Nehammer and now former Minister of Agriculture Elisabeth Köstinger (pictured above, left to right.)

“The quality of the products from our domestic agriculture is known and in demand not only in Austria, but also far beyond. In the interests of transparency, we are now implementing the mandatory labeling of origin in Austria, because consumers have a right to know what’s on comes to their plate. It’s not just the farmers who benefit from this, but also the end consumers,” Nehammer states.

“Austrian agriculture has been demanding mandatory labeling of origin for many years. Now we are entering the home stretch. The regulation is to be issued before the end of this year, so that we will have complete transparency with our food from 2023,” adds Köstinger.

“An estimated 86% of the Austrian population attach great importance to the origin of food. It is currently not possible to identify the origin of the ingredients for processed products such as sausage and cheese, but also in large kitchens in canteens, hospitals and kindergartens. We are changing that now: In future it will be clear,whether one of these main ingredients comes from Austria, the EU or not. This allows consumers to make a clear purchasing decision. Now everyone can support our farmers, because regional matters,” Köstinger says.

The Austrian plan is to label the ‘primary ingredients’ meat, milk or egg. Primary ingredients are at least 50% of the food or the ingredient, which the consumer usually associates with the name of the food. Milk has to be marked with where the animal was milked.

Food manufacturers and companies must indicate the origin on the packaging of processed, packaged food, for example on sausages, cheese or mayonnaise. Community caterers, who are commissioned by the public sector, must identify the origin by means of a notice or in the menu. This can be done, for example, with displays at the hospital canteen or on the menu in the kindergarten.

According to a Roll AMA survey 2020, the origin of the products is more important to Austrian consumers than the price. Around 62% state that regionality is important to them. 38% even attach importance to the fact that the products come directly from the farmer. Only 36% say price is the deciding factor. Approximately 94% of the Austrian population have a positive to very positive image of Austrian agriculture and want to support it.

A study commissioned by the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture has also shown that if one per cent more local food is bought, this creates 3,100 jobs and an additional added value of €140 million.

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