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Food Safety

Language and presentation of food information

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 provides that mandatory food information shall appear in a language easily understood by the consumers of the Member States where a food is marketed. Within their own territory, the Member States in which a food is marketed may stipulate that the particulars shall be given in one or more languages from among the official languages of the Union. The former shall not preclude the particulars from being indicated in several languages (Article 15).

Mandatory food information shall be marked in a conspicuous place in such a way as to be easily visible, clearly legible and, where appropriate, indelible. It shall not in any way be hidden, obscured, detracted from or interrupted by any other written or pictorial matter or any other intervening material (Article 13, par. 1). It shall be available and easily accessible for all foods (Article 12, par. 1). In the case of prepacked food, mandatory food information shall appear directly on the package or on a label attached thereto (Article 12, par. 2).

In order to ensure clear legibility of food information, minimum font size applies to the mandatory particulars listed in Article 9, par. 1. The mandatory particulars shall be printed on the package or on the label in characters using a font size where the x-height, as defined in Annex IV, is equal to or greater than 1.2 mm. In case of packaging or containers whose largest surface area is less than 80 cm2, the x-height of the font size shall be equal to or greater than 0.9 mm (Article 13 par. 2 and 3).

The particulars referred to in Article 9, par. 1 shall be indicated with words and numbers. Without prejudice of Article 35 (related to the additional forms of expression and presentation of nutrition declaration), they may be additionally expressed by means of pictograms and symbols (Article 9 par. 2).

The name of the food, the net quantity and with respect to beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol, the actual alcoholic strength by volume, shall appear in the same field of vision (Article 13 par. 5).

The name of the substance or product causing allergies or intolerances as listed in Annex II shall be emphasised through a typeset that clearly distinguishes it from the rest of the list of ingredients, for example by means of the font, style or background colour (Article 21 par. 1).

Nutrition declaration shall be presented in clear format and, if space permits, in tabular format with the numbers aligned and where appropriate, in the order of presentation provided for in Annex XV. Where space does not permit, the declaration shall appear in linear format (Article 34).

Voluntary food information shall not be displayed to the detriment of the space available for mandatory information (Article 37).