Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
Labelling of foodstuffs

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Languages and formats available
Multilingual display
Text

Labelling of foodstuffs

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 — food information to consumers

SUMMARY

The free movement of safe and wholesome food in the European Union (EU) is of major benefit to the public’s health and well-being and is an essential feature of the single market. In addition to guaranteeing a high level of health protection, EU law ensures consumers have appropriate information to make informed choices in the food they buy and eat.

WHAT DOES THE REGULATION DO?

It guarantees consumers their right to adequate information by establishing the general principles, requirements and responsibilities for the labelling of foodstuffs they consume. It provides sufficient flexibility to respond to future developments in the food sector. It merges the previous legislation, Directives 2000/13/EC on the labelling of foodstuffs and 90/496/EEC on nutritional labelling.

KEY POINTS

The legislation applies to businesses at all stages of the food chain and to all foods intended for final consumption. That includes food delivered by, or supplied to, mass caterers.

Responsibility for providing the necessary information, and ensuring it is accurate, lies with the manufacturer marketing the food under their name. If they are based outside the EU, it lies with the importer.

Certain information is mandatory. This includes the food’s name, list of ingredients, net quantity, use by date, instructions for use if necessary, operator's name and address and a nutrition declaration.

The mandatory information must be available, at no extra cost, to consumers who use distance selling to buy food before they make their purchase.

The actual alcoholic strength must be given for any drinks with more than 1.2 % by volume of alcohol.

Additional mandatory information must be given for certain types of food, such as those containing sweeteners, ammonium salt or with a high caffeine count.

The net quantity of food and liquids is expressed in litres, centilitres, millilitres, kilograms or grams.

Certain foods are exempt from the mandatory nutrition declaration such as herbs and spices, flavourings and herbal teas.

Others, notably fresh fruit and vegetables, carbonated water, vinegars, and dairy items like cheese, butter, cream and fermented milk, do not need to provide a list of ingredients.

Food information should not mislead the public, particularly by suggesting it possesses special characteristics or effects it does not have. It should be accurate, clear and easy for the consumer to understand.

WHEN DOES THIS REGULATION APPLY?

From 13 December 2014, with the exception of the introduction of a nutrition declaration (from 13 December 2016) and the specific requirements concerning the designation of ‘minced meat’ which apply from 1 January 2014.

BACKGROUND

Food information to consumers — legislation on the European Commission’s website.

ACT

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004 (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, pp.18-63)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1169/2011 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 23.11.2015

Top