In the end, on the use of the term “natural” applied to wine (and to food in general), each EU country makes and will make its own history. In recent months, the Agriculture Directorate of the EU Commission, also stimulated by the Italian Wines Union (Uiv), had given a rather trenchant opinion on the matter, underlining that “the indication” natural wine “can suggest the idea of a wine of highest quality. There is, therefore, the risk that the use of the term “natural” will mislead the consumer “. Now, reports Federvini, a new position has arrived from the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides in response to a letter signed by numerous MEPs urging the European Commission to take action to protect correct consumer information in the context of upcoming initiatives that will be undertaken following the adoption of the From Farm to Fork Strategy.
Kyriakides stated, first of all, that the Commission does not consider the term “natural” either a nutritional claim or a health claim within the meaning of EC Regulation no. 1924/2006. According to the Commission, the natural term falls within the field of voluntary consumer information governed by Article 36 of EU Regulation no. 1169/2011: as such it must be truthful, documentable and not misleading for the consumer, responding to the requirements set by article 7 of the same regulation. For this reason, the Commission does not consider it necessary at the moment to adopt a European definition of the term “natural”, as the regulatory framework offered by the Consumer Information Regulation is more than sufficient. And as for any other voluntary information to the consumer, the lawfulness of the use of the term “natural” in the labeling and presentation of a food product, including wine, must be verified by the national authorities on a case-by-case basis. “Because – as always supported by Federvini – each label is a story in itself and as such must be evaluated”.