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Food information to consumers - legislation

New EU law on food information to consumers

The new Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers entered into application on 13 December 2014. The obligation to provide nutrition information will apply from 13 December 2016.

The new law combines 2 Directives into one legislation:

  • 2000/13/EC - Labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs (applicable until 12 December 2014)

  • 90/496/EEC - Nutrition labelling for foodstuffs.

 

Key Changes

  • Improved legibility of information (minimum font size for mandatory information)

  • Clearer and harmonised presentation of allergens (e.g. soy, nuts, gluten, lactose) for prepacked foods (emphasis by font, style or background colour) in the list of ingredients

  • Mandatory allergen information for non-prepacked food, including in restaurants and cafes

  • Requirement of certain nutrition information for majority of prepacked processed foods

  • Mandatory origin information for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry

  • Same labelling requirements for online, distance-selling or buying in a shop

  • List of engineered nanomaterials in the ingredients

  • Specific information on the vegetable origin of refined oils and fats

  • Strengthened rules to prevent misleading practices

  • Indication of substitute ingredient for 'Imitation' foods

  • Clear indication of "formed meat" or "formed fish"

  • Clear indication of defrosted products.

 

 

Guidance on allergens

The Commission has started working on the updating of the previous guidance document on allergen labelling.

Public Consultation on Guidelines relating to the provision of information on substances or products causing allergies or intolerances as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. Please click here for more information. The last date for making a contribution was 4 January 2015.

Guidance on QUID

The Commission has started working on the updating of the previous guidancepdf(36 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  on the quantity of certain ingredients as a percentage of the final product (Quantitative Ingredients Declaration - QUID).

Guidance on Nutrition Labelling

  • Guidance documentpdf Choose translations of the previous link  for competent authorities, tolerances for the control of compliance of nutrient values declared on a label with EU legislation

  • A simplified summary tablepdf Choose translations of the previous link  gives an overview of the different tolerance values included in the guidance document. In case of doubt the guidance document text should be consulted as the official reference

  • Guidance documentpdf(81 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  for competent authorities, methods of analysis for the determination of the fibre content declared on a label for the control of compliance with EU legislation

Origin labelling

Origin labelling for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry:

  • Adoption of an implementing act on the mandatory indication of country of origin or place of provenance for fresh chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry after an impact assessment

  • The Commission has commissioned an external studypdf Choose translations of the previous link  on mandatory origin labelling for pig, poultry and sheep & goat meat

  • The Commission Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013pdf has been adopted setting out the modalities requiring (with some exceptions) the indication of the place of rearing and the place of slaughter for prepacked fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry. The new rules are applicable as of 1 April 2015.

Other required actions on origin labelling

Origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient

On 17 December 2013, the Commission adopted a report for the European Parliament and the Councilpdf(103 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for meat used as an ingredient.

The Commission report is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Document – Origin labelling for meat used as an ingredient: consumers' attitude, feasibility of possible scenarios and impactspdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  – which provides detailed information underpinning the findings of the Commission report.

Both the Commission report and the accompanied Commission Staff Working Document are mainly based on the results of an external study commissioned by DG SANTE by the Food Chain Evaluation Consortium (FCEC) titled "Study on the application of rules on voluntary origin labelling of foods and on the mandatory indication of country of origin or place of provenance of meat used as an ingredient".

Origin labelling for other food categories

On 20 May 2015 the Commission adopted two reports for the European Parliament and the Council:

  • The first one regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry meat (DG AGRICULTURE competence)

  • the second one regarding unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that constitute over 50% of a food COM(2015) 204 finalpdf(107 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 

These reports are based on external studies:

  • Concerning milk and milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goat and poultry, the report of the external study can be found on the web site of DG AGRICULTURE.

  • Concerning unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that constitute over 50% of a food (the report of the external study can be downloaded below)

Study on the mandatory indication of country of origin or place of provenance of unprocessed foods, single ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food:

 

By 13 December 2013, the Commission had to:

  • Adopt implementing acts on the application of "voluntary origin" labelling of foods after an impact assessment. The Commission commissioned an external study on the application of rules on "voluntary origin" labelling of foods and on the mandatory indication of country of origin or place of provenance of meat used as an ingredient.

     

Background information on the adoption of the Regulation

Adoption calendar of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011

  • 16 June 2010: European Parliament first reading position on the Commission proposal
  • 30 January 2008: Commission proposal