Is the French Camembert lobby throwing a wrench in the works for new packaging rules?

Is the French Camembert lobby throwing a wrench in the works for new packaging rules?
French Camembert in wooden packaging

Noos News

  • Aida brands

    Brussels Editor

  • Aida brands

    Brussels Editor

The French cheese industry has lobbied in recent weeks against stricter packaging rules imposed by the European Commission. They worry that the distinctive wooden container in which Camembert is packed will disappear in the future. But does this wooden container really need to disappear, or is this an attempt by the packaging industry to thwart the new rules?

According to the lobby, new rules drawn up by the European Commission could ensure that Camembert is not packed in wooden containers in the future. Traditionally, camembert is sold in wooden containers because it can continue to ripen. However, wooden containers often end up in garbage bags, after which they are burned and not recycled.

A year ago, the European Commission introduced new guidelines for packaging and waste, aiming to produce 15% less packaging by 2040. In addition, all packaging must be fully recyclable by 2030. The idea is that there will be an end, i.e. For example, plastic films on cucumbers and small plastic shampoo bottles in hotels.

“A caricature of the European Union”

The French Minister of State for European Affairs, Laurence Beaune, also opposes the possibility of new packaging for French cheese. The Politico news website warned that the European Commission is… European Union cartoons.

Is there a Brussels campaign to regulate, as some claim, or is it a bit more nuanced? The European Commission noted that these new rules should not necessarily lead to the disappearance of wooden containers, and called on the industry to take measures so that packaging can be recycled. However, according to the French cheese industry, recycling costs are too high.

The committee’s proposal also includes an exception to stricter packaging rules for regional products. This exception also applies to genuine Camembert cheese made from raw milk. The new rules are particularly harmful to industrially produced Camembert cheese. The consumer will soon be able to see more clearly whether Camembert Normandy is authentic through the packaging.

Lobby in cafes

But the French cheese industry is not alone in leading a powerful lobby. The packaging industry is doing this too, for example this afternoon during a European debate on packaging rules, which was criticized by several members of the European Parliament. Leaflets bearing the text “EPs Save What We Have” were recently distributed in Parliament against the rule proposed by the committee. It is not clear where the flyers come from. According to the Euractiv website, the pressure goes much further and communication with members of the European Parliament takes place not only in the corridors of Parliament, but also in cafes. This contradicts current European lobbying rules.

Members of the European Parliament will decide their position on packaging rules tomorrow. But this does not mean that pressure operations will stop. In the coming period, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union will negotiate the new rules. The question remains whether they will reach an agreement before next year’s European elections. Only once the decision is made will stricter packaging rules become a reality.

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