When it comes to product labelling, one of the most important elements to consider when debating whether or not new labelling protocols should be implemented, specifically those related to Country-of-Origin Labels (also referred to as COOL), is the sentiments of those individuals residing within the country itself. After all, COOL is, by its very nature, an issue that pertains specifically to the people of a particular location.
Recently, the European Commission rejected the proposed legislation put forth by the UK which would have required mandatory COOL labelling on all dairy products entering the country. When publishing their ruling on the issue, the EC stated that voluntary labelling would be equally as effective, allowing dairy manufacturers to determine for themselves whether or not the financial and labour investment required to initiate new labelling standards would be feasible for themselves.
Given the fact that the vast majority of UK dairy farmers were in favour of mandatory COOL labelling, the lukewarm reception to their proposal has left many upset and unsettled by the EC’s ruling. Those who support mandatory COOL labelling in the UK have argued that these practices allow consumers to find and purchase products more easily that match their geographic preferences. If, for example, a consumer in Spain is passionate about purchasing dairy products manufactured in the United Kingdom, they should be able to find this information easily without additional research.
The point should also be made that COOL itself is not strictly relegated to dairy labels. In fact, COOL was introduced throughout Europe in the month of April when efforts were made to provide greater transparency within the frozen meat industry, more specifically concerning sheep, goats and pigs, among other animals.
Even though the EC has made their ruling against COOL for dairy, advocates for the programs within the UK have claimed that, despite this setback, they will continue to push forward with their own labelling conventions. Although international support may be lacking, several prominent figures within the industry believe that domestic approval can be gained quite easily for these upgraded dairy labels. More information related to this particular issue will likely be made available in the upcoming months.