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European Parliament Votes for Compulsory ‘Made In’ Labels

The European Parliament has said that “made in” labeling should be mandatory for all non-food products in order to tighten up product safety requirements and market surveillance rules to keep E.U. consumers safer.

During Tuesday’s vote on the labeling plans, Parliament also stressed the desire for tougher penalties for companies selling non-compliant or potentially dangerous products.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) backed the European Commission’s proposal that said mandatory “made in” labels for non-food products should replace the current voluntary system. According to Parliament news, 10 percent of the goods picked up by the E.U.’s RAPEX alert system cannot be traced back to the manufacturer.

Parliament’s rapporteur on product safety Christel Schaldemose said, “This is a big step forward for transparency in the product supply chain, and that is good for consumers.”

The country of origin labeling will apply to almost all goods sold on the internal market with the exception of medicines and, under the proposal, E.U. manufacturers will be able to choose whether to label products with “made in E.U.” or to name their respective countries.

For goods produced in more than one place, the country of origin would be the location where it underwent “the last substantial, economically justified processing” resulting in a “new product” or representing “an important stage of manufacture,” according to the E.U. Customs Code.

To penalize shifty companies, MEPs proposed that the Commission draw up a public E.U.-wide blacklist of firms “repeatedly found to intentionally infringe” on product safety rules. They also suggested establishing a pan-European database on product related injuries suffered by consumers.

Sirpa Pietikäinen, Parliament’s rapporteur on market surveillance regulation, said, “This legislation is a major step towards more powerful, coordinated and risk-based pan-European surveillance. Better surveillance means safer products for European citizens.”