How to apply Regulation (EU) 1379/2013 on the Common Organisation of the Markets of Fishery and Aquaculture Products (CMO)
On 11 December 2013, the European Parliament and the Council adopted this Regulation (the "CMO regulation").
It entered into force on 1 January 2014 (apart from the provisions on consumer information, which apply since 13 December 2014).
- substantially changes EU funding in this field, reducing the previous 6 mechanisms to one – storage aid – which is itself due to disappear on 1 January 2019 (see Commission implementing regulation (EU) No 1419/2013).
- provides for a new tool – production & marketing plans (see Commission implementing regulation
(EU) No 1418/2013) – mandatory since 1 January 2014.
These plans will help professional organisations with the day-to-day implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy's reform goals and allow them to manage their activities in a business-like and market-oriented manner.
- improves consumer information requirements, to help consumers make informed choices. These provisions, which complement regulation (EU) 1169/2011 on food information for consumers ("FIC"), apply since 13 December 2014. They do not change any of the terms of regulation 1169/2011.
These FAQs are designed to help all interested parties to better understand and correctly apply the CMO regulation. They have no formal legal status.
Acronyms & definitions used
CMO: Common organisation of the markets
FIC: Food Information for Consumers
PO: Producer organisation
APO: Association of producer organisations
IBO: Inter-branch organisation
EMFF: European Maritime & Fisheries Fund
PMP: Production & marketing plan
NUTS: Common classification of territorial units for statistics
FAP: Fishery & aquaculture products
Mass caterer: any establishment (including a vehicle or a fixed or mobile stall), e.g. restaurants, canteens, schools, hospitals and caterers in which, in the course of a business transaction, food is prepared for consumption by the final consumer
Food business: any firm, whether for profit or not, and whether public or private, that carries out any activities relating to any stage of food production, processing and distribution.
Food business operator: the individual(s) or firm responsible for ensuring compliance with food law within the food business under their control.
Frequently asked questions
- OCM Generalities
- Definitions (R. 1379/2013)
No questions at this stage
No questions at this stage
- Instruments (Producer Organisations + Inter-Branch Organisations)
No questions at this stage
- Producer Organisations, Association of Producers Organisations and Inter-Branch Organisations
- Establishment, recognition, withdrawal & functioning
- What percentage of members or production volume(Article 14(1)(b) of the CMO regulation) would make a group of producers eligible for recognition as a producer organisation?
The CMO regulation does not specify percentages for this. It is up to the national authorities to do this.
- Will national authorities still be required to use the FIDES electronic data transmission system to notify the Commission of their decisions to grant or withdraw recognition of professional organisations (Article 4)?
NO - These notifications must now be e-mailed as described in Article 4(3) of regulation 1419/2013. They must also follow the format described in Annex II to that regulation.
FIDES will be maintained until the end of 2014 – but only for biannual declarations of expenditure related to the previous CMO (as laid down in regulation No 104/2000).
- For notifying professional organisations of their decisions about recognition (article 2 of regulation 1419/2013), does "in writing" include other possibilities such as e-mail?
YES - "in writing" can mean e-mail or other kinds of communication, depending on the practices in each country.
- Will POs recognized before 29 December 2013 that wish to develop new tasks in accordance with the CMO regulation have to adapt their rules of internal functioning accordingly?
NO - The principles of internal functioning laid down in Article 17 of the CMO regulation concern aspects related to running the PO, such as members' duties, financing, decision-making and penalties.
These are equivalent to the current principles under regulation 104/2000 and do not require any adaptation.
- If POs join members from other EU countries and so become transnational organisations – as the CMO regulation now allows – will they have to apply for new recognition?
NO – because even if producers from different countries join an existing PO, the PO itself will remain the same.
However, this may affect the conditions for recognition, in particular as regards the economic representativeness of the PO in the area of activity.
So the authorities in the recognising country should check whether the PO in question will continue to meet the conditions for recognition after adding new members.
They should also establish administrative cooperation with the new members' countries of origin.
- Storage mechanism
- Trigger prices
- Are POs allowed to apply minimum prices at the first sale of their members' products?
Although EU competition rules (Articles 101-106, Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) apply to the production and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products, POs may be exempted from them in certain cases (Article 41(1) of the CMO regulation).
This article states that there is no "obligation to charge identical prices". So POs cannot oblige their members to observe a minimum price, and by extension cannot prevent them selling their products below a minimum price.
The trigger prices in Article 31 of the CMO regulation are intended only to activate the storage mechanism laid down in Article 30 of that regulation. POs making use of storage can receive financial aid under the EMFF. So the trigger prices are not regarded as minimum prices in terms of competition rules.
- Can national authorities set different trigger prices for a given product category depending on the fishing area? Does each country have to set a single trigger price for a given species, or can the price be different in different NUTS zones?
For each species listed in Annex II of the CMO regulation, a country can set a single trigger price for its entire territory, or several prices (to take account of specific features of its regions).
However, this should not lead to the fragmentation of the internal market and must be controllable. Moreover, each trigger price must meet the criteria in Article 31 of the CMO regulation.
- Do conversion factors have to be used to determine the trigger price for each category of products (size, quality and presentation)?
NO - A country can fix different prices for each category of product, taking into account the Article 31 criteria. But to do so, they do not have to use the conversion factors used until the end of 2013 for fixing withdrawal prices.
- Will POs be able to apply a tolerance margin of ±10% to the trigger price set in each country?
NO – there is no provision for this in the CMO regulation, so the prices set by the national authorities will apply for the relevant period.
- Are POs obliged to propose a price triggering the storage mechanism?
NO - POs are not obliged but may make a proposal for trigger prices. It is up to the competent national authority to take a final decision on the price triggering the storage aid.
- Can a country approve trigger prices without granting financial support for the storage mechanism from the EMFF? Can POs finance storage with their own resources and without public aid?
YES – to both questions.
Article 30 of regulation 1379/2013 sets the conditions for granting financial support for storage and, for that purpose, refers to the EMFF.
Any country that wants to use the storage mechanism must set a trigger price, even if there is no public aid for storage – see Article 31(4) of the CMO regulation.
- Does the CMO regulation set a maximum level for trigger price?
YES – 80% of the weighted average price recorded for each product in the PO's area of activity.
This can be adjusted (see Article 31(3)). It will be up to national authorities to set those prices, after consulting their PO.
- Does the CMO regulation lay down a minimum level for the trigger price?
- Storage aid
- Which are the products covered by storage aid and which POs may benefit from it?
Storage mechanism is only available for fishery products listed under Annex II of Regulation 1379/2013. Storage aid is therefore only available to recognised fishery POs.
- Can a PO buy products from its members at its own expense, at a price that is fixed in advance and has been made public? And can it then market those products for human consumption?
YES - But if the PO prevented its members from selling their products at a given price, that price would be regarded as a minimum price, and so in conflict with EU competition rules. Even if the prices are made public, this cannot justify setting minimum prices.
- If fishery products are stored under the mechanism, does this mean that after storage they have to be placed on the market as a first sale?
- Can a PO decide to use the storage mechanism at a lower price than the trigger price published by the national authorities?
NO - If they want their products to qualify for storage, part-financed by the future EMFF, POs must comply with the relevant trigger price.
- How many attempts must a PO make to sell products in order to qualify for the storage mechanism? Is it enough to put a given batch of products on sale once only, without finding a buyer at the trigger price?
The CMO regulation does not specify the number of times a product must be put on sale. The condition is that the products must have been placed on the market without finding a buyer at the trigger price.
- Can a PO choose not to use the storage mechanism if the market price is lower than the trigger price?
YES. POs may opt for placing the production of their members on the market also in case the market price is lower than the trigger price.
- Is a minimum volume of products needed to qualify for storage?
- Once a PO has used the storage mechanism, could it sell products below the trigger price?
YES - After storage, POs are free to sell the products reintroduced on the market at whatever price.
- Do national authorities have to specify in their operational programmes the names of individual fisheries POs and the amount of aid they will receive?
NO - At the programming stage, if a country plans to allocate resources to storage aid, it must state the share of its overall budget it will use for this aid.
This is enough to make possible related expenditures eligible for EU aid (under the EMFF regulation and the Common Provisions Regulation 1303/2013).
It is then up to the Commission to verify – on the basis of the payment requests submitted by each country – that amounts actually allocated to storage aid do not exceed the budget provided for each country.
- Are POs eligible for advances for storage aid?
The EMFF reimburses expenditure incurred by beneficiaries in accordance with the relevant provisions of the CMO and the EMFF regulations. However, since storage aid under the EMFF can only be granted once the products stored are released for human consumption, POs can only receive advances for storage aid under national budgets.
- Is it possible to grant aid under the storage mechanism for quantities stored and released to the market in a given year if applications for support are submitted the following year?
YES, POs may receive storage aid once the products are released for human consumption, regardless of when the application for aid is submitted, under two conditions:
- The Member State must foresee a share of its EMFF budget for storage aid, and
- The provisions of articles 30 and 31 of Regulation 1379/2013 are respected, in particular regarding the adoption and publication of trigger prices.
- Technical and financial costs
- What type of technical and financial costs arising from storage and stabilising operations are eligible for support under Article 67(4) of the EMFF regulation?
Technical costs are calculated on the basis of expenses related to labour, energy, transport and other operational costs arising from storage (i.e. live storage, freezing, salting, drying, marinating and boiling). It is up to individual national authorities to determine the costs to be assigned to each of these storage operations.
The national authorities add the financial costs – e.g. an amount resulting from the application of the national interest rate - to these technical costs.
- Should the technical costs and financial costs be fixed as two separate amounts?
Yes. For clarity and transparency purposes, the description and justification of the methods used for calculating compensations under Article 67 of the EMFF should allow distinguishing the two components.
- Should national authorities calculate the technical costs for each species separately?
National authorities may determine the technical costs on the basis of one or more of the following criteria:
- type of stabilising operation (e.g. freezing)
- presentation (e.g. fillets)
- How are technical costs calculated?
It is up to each EU country to choose the most adequate method of calculation, on the basis of real costs or historical data, under the condition that it does not lead to any overcompensation.
- Should technical and financial costs be made publicly available ahead of providing the aid?
NO. EU countries have to make technical and financial costs public, but there is no obligation to do so prior to the actual granting of the aid. Prior publication of these costs would nonetheless contribute to providing more transparency, to the benefit of all market actors.
- Can Eurozone Member States use the interest rate set annually by ECB to calculate financial costs?
NO. The interest rate used for calculation of the financial costs must be the interest rate set annually in the Member State.
- Production and marketing plans (PMPs)
- Stakeholders' role
No questions at this stage.
- Eligibility and Funding
- Must national authorities support production and marketing plans?
YES - National authorities must support the preparation and implementation of production and marketing plans with EMFF funding (Article 66) as long as such plans have been approved by the appropriate national authority and fall within the limit of 3% of the average annual value of the goods placed on the market by the PO or by its members over the preceding 3 calendar years.
- Which sources can provide the public counterpart to the EMFF funding?
As for all European Structural and Investment Funds governed by the Common Provision Regulation No 1303/2013, support from the EMFF complements national, regional and local intervention. EMFF co-funding can thus come from the public sphere at any geographical level, providing the EMFF rules on co-financing rates and intensity of public aid are respected.
- How are the main species covered by a PMP determined?
Each country must set its own rules, at either national level or the most appropriate regional/local level – in the form of limits for the value (turnover) or volume of catches or farmed species (or both).
The rules must allow a PMP to cover the activities that constitute the main part of the POs' turnover and catch volume.
A PO's PMP can also include measures for other species. This is particularly relevant to the objectives of limiting by-catch and seeking opportunities for unwanted catches.
National authorities are free to model their national rules on the previous rules for determining the main species, used in operational programmes under Article 2 of regulation 2508/2000.
- How is the 3% ceiling on public support for a PMP provided for in the EMFF regulation calculated?
The "annual value of production" means the entire annual production placed on the market at first sale by the PO or its members (and reported by the PO), regardless the place or country where the products are sold.
The 3% is based on the average of this production over 3 years.
For newly recognised PO, the 3 % ceiling applies to the average annual value of the production placed on the market by the members of that new organisation during the preceding 3 calendar years.
The 3% ceiling applies to the entire public aid (EMFF part + national counterpart funding, as defined in the EMFF regulation).
- Are operations planned in a PMP entitled to the 25% increase in the intensity of public aid (annex 1 of the EMFF regulation)?
YES – Member States may decide to take advantage of the possibility to increase the intensity of public aid for operations implemented by a PO or an APO under a PMP.
- Can all the measures planned in a PMP be funded exclusively under Article 66 of the EMFF regulation, even if some of them are eligible under another article of the regulation?
YES – To make support to producer organisations more visible and consistent, or to make it easier to assess how PMPs are being implemented, national authorities may decide to focus on funding the measures planned under the specific article of the EMFF Regulation (Article 66). However, it is up to individual national authorities to make sure that support is not duplicated.
- Can a PO's "traditional" management & information activities be included in PMP?
YES – but only if they:
- contribute to the objectives in Articles 3 and 7 of the CMO regulation and
- are approved by the competent national authority.
- Can an APO and one of its member POs submit separate PMPs of their own?
YES – but only if the measures are different (even if a link exists between them). The same measure cannot be included in two PMPs and thus subject to double funding.
- Is expenditure incurred while implementing PMPs only eligible after the corresponding annual reports have been approved by the competent national authorities?
NO – expenditure is eligible from 1 January 2014 – on the basis of the PMPs approved by the national competent authority.
However, no full funding will be made until the competent authority has approved the POs annual report.
Advances (of 50%) can be paid by the Member State already from the date the PMP is approved (article 65 §4 of the EMFF regulation).
- Which expenditure by a PO is eligible for aid under article 66 of the EMFF regulation for developing and implementing PMPs?
Any expenditure on developing or implementing measures in a PMP should include:
- expenditure for work by PO staff on these measures (i.e. whatever proportion of their salary equates to the time spent on the measures)
- any expenditure for travel, outside services, overheads or minor supplies that is incurred by the PO on the measures.
- Can the preparation and implementation of the PMPs for a given year be supported even if applications for support will be submitted the following year?
YES – Member State may grant an advance of 50% of the financial support after approval of the PMP. EMFF support will however only be provided after approval of the annual report by the competent national authorities.
- Can a PO include a measure for which aid is not available under another EMFF article in a PMP, and then receive aid for it under the EMFF article that grants aid for PMPs?
YES - If a PO thinks a measure helps achieve the goals laid down in articles 3 and 7 of the CMO regulation, but would not be granted aid under any other article of the EMFF regulation, they can put that measure in their PMP.
Any preparation or follow-up action taken for that measure can then receive aid under the EMFF in the same way as other measures to prepare and implement PMPs.
It is then up to the competent national authorities to obtain assurances from the PO that this measure does indeed help achieve the goals of the PMP.
- Who can benefit from financial support for preparing and implementing PMPs provided under Article 66 of the EMFF regulation?
Only POs accredited by the appropriate national authority can benefit from such support.
- What are the possible consequences for a PO if it fails to submit a production and marketing plan to its national authority, or if its PMP is not approved?
POs must submit a production and marketing plan. If a PO fails to meet this requirement, the national government concerned may ultimately withdraw recognition of the PO, in line with Article 28(7) of regulation No 1379/2013. However, this should be regarded as a last resort.
- Granting of aid – Advances – Payments
- Can Member States apply for payment of the advances granted to POs in support of PMPs ?
NO. The Common Provision Regulation foresees, inter alia, that advances may be paid only if they do not exceed 40 % of the total amount of the aid to be granted to a beneficiary, whereas the level of advance to be paid to POs form PMPs is set at 50% by art 66 § 4 of the EMFF
- What are the deadlines for POs to submit their PMPs to their competent national authorities?
For first plans – end of February 2014 (article 2, regulation 1418/2013).
For subsequent plans – 8 weeks before the plans in place expire.
- And for POs recognised after 1 January 2014?
The deadline is 8 weeks after being recognised
- What are the deadlines for POs to submit their PMP implementation reports?
POs will have to submit the report after the end of each year (even if the PMP runs for more than one year).
But neither the CMO regulation nor the PMP implementing regulation set any deadline for this – so national authorities will set their own.
- Are there minimum or maximum running periods for PMPs?
At least one calendar year – but the running period cannot go beyond the programming period.
- Can an annual PMP cover any given 12-month period?
NO. PMPs are based on calendar years and must therefore cover the period between 1st January and 31st December of a given year.
- Is there a specific format that EU countries must use for approval of PMPs ?
NO. It is up to each country to choose the most adequate instrument.
- Consumer information
- General information to consumers
- What new legislation applies to consumer information (e.g. labelling) for FAPs in the EU?
- CMO Regulation (Chapter IV)
- FIC Regulation
They are complementary and any aspect/product not covered by the CMO regulation is subject to the FIC regulation.
- Is there any other Commission website with questions and answers on general labelling issues of the FIC regulation?
YES - For more information, see:
- What fishery and aquaculture products are covered by the CMO regulation and the FIC regulation?
The CMO regulation sets out rules on the mandatory and voluntary information to be provided for pre-packed and non-prepacked fishery and aquaculture products referred to in points (a), (b), (c) and (e) of its Annex I [588 KB]
The FIC regulation lays down general objectives and requirements on consumer information for all pre-packed foodstuffs including fishery and aquaculture products.
The FIC Regulation also states that legislation on non-pre-packed foodstuffs - apart from the mandatory requirement to indicate allergens – is still decided by national authorities.
As well as complementing the CMO regulation in other respects, the FIC regulation also applies to the following prepared and preserved products (processed) which are not covered by the CMO regulation:
- prepared or preserved fish;
- caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs;
- crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates, prepared or preserved.
In addition, regulation 1536/92 lays down specific marketing standards for 'canned tuna and bonito', while regulation 2136/89 does the same for 'sardines and sardine-like products'.
- What regulation(s) apply to preserved 'sardines and sardine-like products' and to 'canned tuna and bonito'?
Article 47 of the CMO regulation establishes that regulation 1536/92 on specific marketing standards for 'canned tuna and bonito', and regulation 2136/89 on specific marketing standards for 'sardines and sardine-like products' will continue to apply.
These regulations on marketing standards for these products are completed by the FIC regulation. Articles 35 to 39 of the CMO regulation do not apply to these products.
- What are the definitions of unprocessed and of processed products?
These definitions are laid down in Article 2 of Regulation 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs.
'Unprocessed products’ means foodstuffs that have not undergone processing, and includes products that have been divided, parted, severed, sliced, boned, minced, skinned, ground, cut, cleaned, trimmed, husked, milled, chilled, frozen, deep-frozen or defrosted.
‘Processed products’ means foodstuffs resulting from the processing* of unprocessed products. These products may contain ingredients that are necessary for their manufacture or to give them specific characteristics.
‘Processing’ means any action that substantially alters the initial product, including heating, smoking, curing, maturing, drying, marinating, extraction, extrusion or a combination of those processes.
- What regulation should be applied to "smoked fish marinated with vegetable oil and vegetables"?
Marinated products are not mentioned in Annex I to Reg 1379/2013. In this case, only the general labelling rules of FIC regulation apply.
- Must cooked North Sea brown shrimp meat and surimi in the form of 'crab sticks' be labelled in accordance with the CMO regulation?
NO – processed products, such as crustaceans cooked without their shells or surimi in the form of 'crab sticks', are not included in point (c) of Annex I to the CMO regulation. They must therefore be labelled in line with the FIC regulation.
- What actors of the food chain are covered by these regulations?
All food businesses operators, at all stages of the food chain.
- Who are the regulations intended to inform?
Consumers and mass caterers.
- When will these regulations take effect?
13 December 2014 (both chapter IV of the CMO regulation and the FIC regulation).
However, the requirement to provide information on nutrition under the FIC regulation will not apply to pre-packed, prepared and preserved FAPs until 13 December 2016. Until then, providing such information is voluntary for food business operators.
- Do the regulations also apply to imported products (from countries outside the EU)?
YES – they apply to all FAPs marketed within the EU, irrespective of their origin or of their marketing method.
- Has regulation 2065/2001, which sets out detailed rules for applying regulation 104/2000 as regards informing consumers about FAPs, been repealed?
YES – It was repealed by regulation 1420/2013 repealing certain regulations following the adoption of regulation 1379/2013.
The repeal takes effect on 13 December 2014.
- Do producers have to put a label on all products?
YES – if they are pre-packed.
For non-pre-packed products covered by the CMO regulation, information can be provided in different forms - labels, billboards, posters or the like.
In the case on non-pre-packed products covered by the FIC regulation, EU countries may adopt national measures.
- What happens if a food business still has old labels on stock when the regulations start to apply?
The labels themselves, not attached to a package or a product cannot be used anymore.
However, in the case of CMO regulation, labelled or marked packages and products labelled before 13 December 2014 that do not comply with the new rules can still be sold until stocks are exhausted.
Products labelled on or after that date must meet the new requirements.
- Which nomenclature should be used on the label for EU and non-EU countries?
Use ISO alpha 2 (see regulation 1106/2012). For example: Chile = CL.
- Mandatory information
- Which mandatory information must be placed on FAPs under CMO regulation?
For pre-packed and non-pre-packed FAPs (article 35):
- commercial and scientific name of the species
- production method ("…caught…" or "…caught in freshwater…" or "…farmed…")
- area where the product was caught / country and body of water where the product was farmed
- category of fishing gear
- whether the product has been defrosted (with some exceptions)
- "Date of minimum durability" ('best before' date) – where appropriate (e.g. frozen fillets)
In addition, pre-packed products must also display all the relevant information specified in Articles 9 and 10 of FIC regulation:
- list of ingredients
- any ingredient or processing aid causing allergies or intolerances
- quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients (if required)
- net quantity of the food
- any special conditions for storage and use (if required)
- 'use by' date for products for which the 'best before' date is not appropriate (e.g.: fresh fillets)
- name or business name and address of the food business
- country of origin or place of provenance (if required)
- instructions for use (if needed)
- nutritional information (if required)
- Must scientific names be provided as stated in the "list of commercial designations and corresponding scientific names" in each Member State?
YES – both the commercial and scientific names used in the product labelling must be those on the list drawn up and published by each EU country.
If an EU country wants to change any of the commercial names on the list, it must notify the Commission of this and the Commission must inform the other EU countries.
- Can commercial names be used on billboards or posters in the case of non-pre-packed products on display for retail sale?
YES – provided that the food business operator always makes sure that the commercial name is clearly linked to the relevant product.
- For fishery products caught at sea, should the label include the FAO area number?
NO – numbers are no longer required.
- How should the label refer to the various maritime FAO catch areas?
Fish caught either in the Northeast Atlantic or in the Mediterranean and Black Sea areas must display the name of the sub-area or division, along with a name that is easy for the consumer to understand, or a map or a pictogram. This replaces the name of the area.
- 'Caught in Bay of Biscay' + Cantabrian Sea, or 'Caught in Bay of Biscay' + map, or 'Caught in Bay of Biscay' + pictogram
- 'Caught in Portuguese Waters' + Coast of Galicia, or 'Caught in Portuguese Waters' + map, or 'Caught in Portuguese Waters' + pictogram,
- 'Caught in Western Mediterranean'+Tyrrhenian Sea, or 'Caught in Western Mediterranean' + map, or 'Caught in Western Mediterranean' + pictogram.
For fish caught anywhere else in the world, only the area name in writing is needed.
In addition to the above, operators are free to give a more precise indication of the catch area, provided that it is clear, unambiguous and verifiable.
The list of FAO/ICES areas, sub-areas and divisions names is published by the FAO: FAO major fishing areas
- Is there an EU harmonised working document with the translations in all EU official languages of the sub-areas and divisions of the FAO areas 'Northeast Atlantic' and 'Mediterranean and Black Sea'?
YES – The Directorate-General of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, in collaboration with the EU countries, has published the translations in its website at the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/market/marketing/index_en.htm
- How exactly must the catch area for wild freshwater products be indicated on the label?
Both the name of the body of water and the country where the product was caught must be given (e.g.: 'Caught in freshwater in Tiefer See, Germany').
More detailed additional information may be provided on a voluntary basis, provided that it is clear, unambiguous and verifiable.
- What gear types categories must appear on the label?
On a mandatory basis, for pre-packed and non-pre-packed products, any of the 7 gear types categories listed in Annex III (1st column) to the CMO regulation must appear on the label: seines, trawls, gillnets and similar nets, surrounding net and lift nets, hooks and lines, dredges and pots and traps.
If they so wish, food business operators can add more detailed information on the gear used, such as the gear listed in columns 2 and/or 3* of Annex III to the CMO regulation.
For other fishing techniques not covered by Annex III (e.g. fishing by hand or diving), food business operators are free to indicate the fishing technique used if they so wish, provided that the information they provide is clear, unambiguous and verifiable.
- Are food businesses required to list on labels all the different gear types used to catch the various batches contained in the final product?
- Is the indication 'defrosted' mandatory for products falling under the CMO regulation?
YES – except for the 4 exceptions set out in Article 35(1) of the CMO regulation. In addition, and in accordance with Annex VI, A (2) paragraph 1 of the FIC regulation, the indication 'defrosted' must accompany the 'name of the food' on the label of pre-packed products.
For non-prepacked products, the information need not accompany the name of the food, although it must be shown on billboards or posters.
- The "date of minimum durability" must be indicated ‘where appropriate’, according to Article 35(1)(e) of the CMO regulation. What does ‘where appropriate’ mean?
Under the CMO regulation, the date of minimum durability must be provided in accordance with the rules set out in the FIC regulation.
The date of minimum durability corresponds to the 'best before' date or 'best before end' date referred to in Annex X to the FIC regulation.
For all pre-packed products, 'where appropriate' means that products must bear either the date of minimum durability, if they are not highly perishable, or the 'use by' date if they are highly perishable (Article 24 of the FIC regulation).
For all non-pre-packed products or products packed on the sales premises at the consumer's request or pre-packed for direct sale, 'where appropriate' means that it is left to EU countries' discretion whether to give the 'date of minimum durability' or the 'use by date'; they may decide whether or not to adopt national measures (Article 44 of the FIC regulation).
- Which additional information must appear in the labelling of mixed products of the same species?
If the product contains batches produced by different production methods, the labelling must state the method used for each batch.
If the product contains batches from different areas, the labelling must state at least the area of the larger batch.
- Which information must appear in the labelling of mixed products of different species?
For each batch of each species, the label must state both the production method and the areas.
- For shellfish whose final rearing or cultivation stage in a particular country was under 6 months, what country must be mentioned on the label?
If the final rearing or cultivation stage in a particular country lasted at least 6 months, the name of the country concerned – whether within or outside the EU - must appear on the label.
However, if the final rearing or cultivation stage in a particular country was under 6 months, the country concerned cannot appear on the label as the country of origin/provenance. In such cases, the country of origin/provenance is the country from which the shellfish was imported into the last country where it was cultivated, and where it spent at least the previous 6 months. Example: shellfish cultivated in country A and exported to country B to complete the rearing period for a final 3 months is considered to originate in country A.
- How should the "net weight" be displayed on the label?
This must be expressed in grams or kilograms.
Where a solid food is presented in a liquid medium (also frozen or quick-frozen), the drained net weight must also be shown.
If the food has been glazed, the declared net weight of the food must exclude the glaze. In this case, one of these four possibilities should be indicated on the label (example of 250 g):
- a) Net weight = 250 g and Drained net weight = 250 g
- b) Net weight = Drained net weight = 250 g
- c) Drained net weight = 250 g
- d) Net weight (without glaze) = 250 g
- Voluntary information
- What voluntary information can a food business operator provide for FAPs covered by the CMO regulation?
The following information may be provided that the informationon a voluntary basis (Article 39), provided that it is clear, unambiguous and verifiable:
- Date of catch / harvest
- Date of landing or information on the port of landing
- More details on the fishing gear
- Vessel's flag state
- Environmental information
- Ethical/social information
- Production techniques and practices
- Nutritional content
Moreover, the list is not closed and does not explicitly prohibit other possibilities.
- What additional information can be given on gear types on a voluntary basis by food business operators?
On a voluntary basis, food business operators can add more detailed information on the gears used such as the gears listed in columns 2 and/or 3* of Annex III to the CMO regulation.
For other fishing techniques not covered by Annex III (e.g. fishing by hand or diving), food business operators are free to indicate the fishing technique used if they so wish, provided that the information provided is clear and unambiguous.
- What relationship is there between the voluntary nutritional content referred to in the CMO regulation and the mandatory nutrition declaration mentioned in the FIC regulation?
The term "nutritional content" in the CMO regulation corresponds to the term "nutrition declaration" in the FIC regulation.
The provision of the nutrition declaration under the CMO regulation follows the rules defined by the FIC regulation.
The CMO regulation encourages food business operators to provide information on the nutrition declaration voluntarily in the following cases:
1- Until this becomes mandatory under the FIC regulation (13 December 2016). In practice, this will apply to the very few processed products falling under the CMO regulation.
2- For products exempted under Annex V to the FIC regulation from providing the mandatory nutrition declaration. In practice, this applies to most products falling under the CMO regulation. Examples include unprocessed products comprising a single ingredient or category of ingredients and processed products whose processing has consisted only of maturing and which comprise a single ingredient.
- Should the use of a Quick Response code (QR) be considered as supplementing the mandatory information to be provided under Article 35(1) of the CMO regulation?
YES - the use of a QR code supplements the mandatory written information required under Article 35 and cannot replace such information. Additionally, a QR code may be used on a voluntary basis, outlining part or all of the information listed in Article 35(1).