Switzerland: We may soon no longer know which oil we consume


The Federal Council proposes to relax the rules on the labeling of food products. In some cases, the oils used may no longer be clearly indicated.

A list of oils of which “at least one” is used in a product: this could soon be possible in Switzerland.


Sunflower oil is becoming increasingly rare (or expensive) and many producers in the food sector are starting to substitute it with other oils in their products. The situation could get worse in the summer. But should we force them to review all their labeling? The Federal Council proposed on Wednesday to relax the rules “so that these kinds of short-term changes do not lead to additional delivery delays or false declarations”.

He wants to leave the industry with three options when it comes to oils: either put a sticker on which the changes to the ingredients are written, or a sticker with, for example, a QR code that links to the information, or a list is written with a selection of vegetable oils ‘of which at least one is used in the finished product’, without having to say which one, but specifying that the choice is made ‘according to the supply situation’.

Concerned Consumer Advocates

More than a month ago, consumer protection organizations had taken the lead, sensing that the issue was going to arise in Switzerland. And it was precisely this third possibility that worried them. “The packaging must precisely indicate the type of oil. It can not in any case include a list of various oils. A weakening of transparency towards consumers is not acceptable”, they said in their letter sent to the Confederation.

On the other hand, the other recommendations of the associations were followed by the Federal Council in its proposal on Wednesday. Thus, he will not compromise on any ingredient that may pose a danger to some people. It is out of the question, therefore, not to indicate the potential presence of allergenic ingredients, for example by using soy lecithin instead of sunflower.

Only for Ukraine and guaranteed without GMOs

“The proposed relaxations only apply to the replacement of sunflower oil and lecithin from Ukraine. They also do not apply to ingredients or substitutes that contain or are derived from genetically modified organisms,” adds the Federal Council. A flash consultation has been launched so that a legal modification can enter into force by mid-July at the latest.


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