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Lidl launches innovative organic vegetable labelling

Lidl launches innovative organic vegetable labelling

Lidl Poland has begun labelling its organic vegetables using a non-invasive laser technique to avoid using packaging, paper, ink or glue, reports The technique is already being used with the retailer’s organic butternut squash and celery, as of the beginning of December. The technique is entirely safe and does not affect the structure and nutritional value of the products in any way, leaving just a “tattoo” on the vegetable using a concentrated light beam. Information that these are organic products can be found directly on the skin.

The Schwarz Group, which includes Lidl and Kaufland, is one of the largest retailers on the international stage. The Group has developed a comprehensive REsetPlastic strategy aimed at reducing waste, recycling, eliminating plastics, and education.

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New EU labelling requirements for fruits and vegetables

New EU labelling requirements for fruits and vegetables

The EU has brought in new marketing standards for how fruits and vegetables are labelled. This will involve how Country of Origin is shown. The indication of the country of origin must be preceded by a term such as “Origin” or “LvO”. Other accepted formulations are: “Grown in”, “Product of”, “COO” (abbreviation for Country of Origin).

For import shipments, the use of the term “Origin:” or “Produce of:” (or any other similar formulation) is no longer mandatory. The condition remains that there should be no uncertainty about the origin. Indications such as “Brazilian mangos” or “Australian limes” are insufficient as they do not guarantee that the product has been grown or produced in the country concerned.

There is also a change in the use of supplier and packer codes. On pre-packages, the name and address details of the packer/shipper may be replaced by the name and address details of the sales organisation (e.g. a retailer) in combination with a unique supplier code/packer code. The supplier code is usually provided by the retailer.

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Laser Food & JBT bring cutting-edge laser labelling technology to UK

Spanish fresh produce technology specialist Laser Food, together with US partner JBT Corporation, made their first major appearance on UK shores at the London Produce Show.

Spanish fresh produce technology specialist Laser Food, together with US partner JBT Corporation, made their first major appearance on UK shores at the London Produce Show.

Held June 3-5 at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, the show was a key opportunity to explain to leading members of the fresh produce sector why Laser MarkTM can be an effective alternative to traditional fresh produce labels.

Laser Food’s head of international business development, Stephane Merit, said: “The UK is a major consumer of fresh fruits and vegetables in Europe and it is also a very demanding market that wants quality and is ready to pay for it.”

Merit said the UK is a perfect target for the technology as laser labelling is a way to add value to fresh produce and help retailers reduce their carbon footprint. The reduction in carbon footprint, which can be delivered by the paper-free technology, also fits well with consumer – and therefore retailer – awareness and concern about environmental issues.

With the London Produce Show consolidating its position as a major meeting place between UK retailers and producers of fresh fruits and vegetables worldwide, Merit said it offered Laser Food and JBT a great opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of laser-labelled fresh produce.

“Maintaining a constant dialogue with the major UK retailers is key because we know they are the ones who set trends and are looking for new products, new technologies and new ways of satisfying their customers’ needs.”

Based in Valencia, Spain, Laser Food originally developed the laser labelling technology between 2010 and 2013 as part of its Laser MarkTM research project, which was 50% funded by the European Union.

The technology, which can be applied to almost any type of fresh produce, uses EU-approved compounds that do not damage the fruit surface or interior, while maintaining the commercial value of the product. The materials used in the process were legally approved by the EU for pomegranates, melons and citrus in June 2013.

As well as being able to write brand names directly onto fruit, the system allows growers and retailers to add QR matrix codes to product surfaces, offering greater traceability.

Laser Food and JBT Corporation tailor their services to the individual needs of each client, and are currently supporting customers in Italy, France, Poland and the UK. JBT Corporation is a leading global supplier of integrated solutions for the fresh produce sector.

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Debate next week over blood orange & other fresh produce package labelling

Differing views between Italy, the US and Spain on terms used for labelling citrus fruit packages are among topics to be discussed at a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) meeting in Geneva next week.

Differing views between the US, Spain and Italy on terms used for labelling citrus fruit packages are among topics to be discussed at a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) meeting in Geneva next week.

The US has advised it is “deeply concerned” that proposed changes could mean its quality inspectors are asked “to validate species, varieties and/or their hybrids – something they are not trained or equipped to do.”

In regard to the labelling of packages containing a mixture of citrus fruit of different species, a working group has proposed  the name of the variety or variety group – for example: “Navels”, “Valencias”, “Sanguinelli”, “Tarocco”, etc. – be required.

Among its comments on proposed changes, Spain said it would prefer to label the name of the variety as under the current standard but could accept the name of the variety group for oranges as an option. Spain proposes adding more examples “to make it clear that there are two options of marking: variety or variety group.” It proposed the following label options: “Navelina” or “Navels”, “Valencia delta seedless” or “Valencias”, “Sanguinelli” or “Blood oranges”, “Tarocco” or ”Blood oranges”, etc.

Meanwhile among its comments, Italy said the indication “Blood oranges” as a variety group could create a misunderstanding. “Please note that for us “Tarocco” and “Sanguinello” are variety groups,” it said.

The discussion about changes is part of a plan to make labelling of citrus fruit packages unambiguous and easy to follow. This would involve changes the UNECE Standard for Citrus Fruit. The issue is on the agenda for the sixty-third session of the Specialized Section on Standardization of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (GE.1) to be held April 21-24.

Also up for consideration are a draft Standard for Lambs Lettuce and an explanatory brochure and Standard for Persimmons.

And among other revisions to UNECE standards to be discussed are:

  • Apples: relating to the structure of the List of Varieties taking into consideration the correspondence received from the delegation of the Netherlands and WAPA;
  • Garlic: the Spanish delegation will make proposals on revising the Standard for Garlic to reflect the results of the OECD work on an explanatory brochure for this product;
  • Watermelons: the Specialized Section will continue its work on revising the Standard for Watermelons;
  • Early and ware potatoes: the Hungarian delegation is expected to provide information supporting its proposals for revising the standard;
  • Tomatoes: delegations will revisit the 2014 post-session text of the tomatoes standard to decide whether to delete “cherry tomatoes” from the commercial types listed in the “Definition of produce” section;
  • Leeks: the Specialized Section may wish to review the Standard for Leeks to take into account the OECD work on an explanatory brochure for this product.

Separately, the delegations of France, Hungary and Poland have requested a discussion on how marking or labelling provisions of the standards could support traceability, and a working group will report on food waste related to the use of standards.

The agenda also says that the Specialized Section will discuss its future work and whether the following standards, last amended in 2010, need to be reviewed in 2016: anonas, artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, avocados, beans, berry fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, ceps, cherries, cucumbers, courgettes, kiwifruit, peaches and nectarines, peas, ribbed celery, rhubarb, root and tubercle vegetables, strawberries, and table grapes.

Documents for the meeting are available online here:
Blood Orange image by Eric Hill from Boston, MA, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons