The European Parliament has voted for 'made in' labels to be made compulsory for all non-food products to improve traceability, and tighten up product safety requirements. 

Under the plans discussed yesterday (15 April), EU manufacturers would be able to choose whether to put 'made in EU' on the label or name their country.

For goods produced in more than one place, the 'country of origin' would be where it underwent "the last substantial, economically justified processing" resulting in a "new product" or representing "an important stage of manufacture". 

Today, around 10% of goods picked up by the EU's RAPEX alert system cannot be traced back to the manufacturer.

"This is a big step forward for transparency in the product supply chain, and that is good for consumers", said Parliament's rapporteur on product safety Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK).

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also want tougher penalties for firms selling non-compliant or potentially dangerous products. 

The penalties should be "proportionate and dissuasive" and take account of the seriousness, duration and intentional or recurring character of the infringement, as well as the size of the company. 

MEPs also propose the European Commission draw up a public EU-wide blacklist of firms which are "repeatedly found to intentionally infringe" EU product safety rules. 

"This legislation is a major step towards more powerful, coordinated and risk-based pan-European surveillance," said Parliament's rapporteur on the market surveillance regulation Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, FI). 

"Better surveillance means safer products for European citizens."