Questions & answers - updated 26/09/2017
On 11 December 2013, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the above-mentioned Regulation ("CMO regulation").
entered into force on 1 January 2014 (except the provisions on consumer information, which apply since 13 December 2014).
substantially changes EU funding in this field, moving from the previous
6 mechanisms to a single mechanism – 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 ("the FIC regulation"), 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 CPR: Common Provisions Regulation MC: 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. FB: 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. FBO: 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
CMO & EMFF
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
General information to consumers
What new legislation applies to consumer information (e.g. labelling) for FAPs in the EU?
CMO Regulation ( Chapter IV)
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 sets out rules on the mandatory and voluntary information to be provided for CMO regulation pre-packed and non-prepacked fishery and aquaculture products referred to in points (a), (b), (c) and (e) of its Annex I
The lays down general requirements on consumer information for all FIC regulation pre-packed foodstuffs including fishery and aquaculture products.
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 '
, while regulation 2136/89 does the same for ' canned tuna and bonito' . sardines and sardine-like products' text
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
CMO regulation. 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.
Which stakeholders must comply with these regulations?
All food businesses operators, at all stages of the food chain.
Are restaurants concerned by the new labelling rules?
YES – Restaurants and other mass caterers are concerned by the labelling rules in two ways: (1) As
receivers of the complete information of CMO and FIC Regulations when they buy their fishery products (this information must be kept for the authorities or the consumers at their request), and as
sellers of prepared/processed fishery products, that are usually non-prepacked. For non-prepacked products (dishes served in a restaurant) only information on allergens is mandatory. The remaining mandatory particulars do not have to be mentioned unless EU countries adopt national measures on all or some of them (article 44 of FIC Regulation. In this case, CMO Regulation does not apply.
As an example, restaurants are not obliged to put the mentions "farmed" or "wild" salmon on their menus unless their competent authority so requires. But they are obliged to keep and give this information (or show the documents) to the consumer if he asks for. Restaurants, of course, can always mention it voluntarily on their menus to improve the image and credibility of their business.
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.
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.
Which information is mandatory on the label/documents in the case of Business to Business operations? (Example: operators not selling to final consumers, who buy the fish to fishing vessels, fillet the fish and sell it to wholesalers who, in turn, sell it to the final consumer) ?
FIC Regulation, in its Articles 8(6), 8(7) and 8(8), tackles the issue of the provision of food information for foods marketed at Business to Business stage. More in particular:
FBOs shall ensure that information relating to non-prepacked food intended for the final consumer or for supply to mass caterers shall be transmitted to the FBO receiving the food; Where
prepacked food is marketed at a stage prior to sale to the final consumer and not to a mass caterer, FBOs shall ensure that the mandatory particulars required under Articles 9 and 10 shall
appear on the prepackaging or on a label attached thereto, or
on the commercial documents. It must be guaranteed that such documents either accompany the food or were sent before or at the same time as delivery.
This also applies to the mandatory information of article 35 of the CMO regulation (commercial and scientific name of the species, name of the catch area, fishing gear, etc.).
In addition, the information referred to in points (a), (f), (g) and (h) of Article 9(1) of the FIC Regulation must also appear on the external packaging.
FBOs shall ensure that other FBOs receiving their products are provided with sufficient information to meet their obligations.
Which mandatory information must be placed on FAPs under CMO regulation?
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)
pre-packed products must also display all the relevant information specified in Articles 9 and 10 of FIC regulation, when necessary: list of ingredients
any ingredient or processing aid causing allergies or intolerances
quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients
net quantity of the food
any special conditions for storage and use
'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
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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
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).
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
What voluntary information can a food business operator provide for FAPs covered by the CMO regulation?
The following information may be provided on 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
Production techniques and practices
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.
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).