EU – The new food information regulation of the European Union came into effect on December 13, 2014, which is binding in all member states of the EU and which replaces all national food labelling regulations. The new regulation prescribes how food has to be labelled in future and lays down the rules for their advertising, presentation and distance selling. The manufacturers and distributors of food as well as suppliers of the catering industry are obliged with immediate effect to state the following information on their products:
- the description of the food and a list of the ingredients,
- a list of the ingredients and additives that can trigger off allergies or intolerances,
- the amount of the specific ingredients or categories of ingredients,
- the net quantity,
- the sell-by or use-by date,
- where applicable, special instructions for storage and/or use,
- the name and address of the company,
- where applicable the country of origin of the food,
- where necessary instructions for use,
- the alcohol content for drinks with an alcohol content of more than 1.2% vol.
A minimum font type of 1.2 mm is laid down for the mandatory information and list of ingredients. If the largest surface of the packaging is smaller than 80 cm², the minimum font type is 0.9 mm. After a transitional period, nutritional labelling will become compulsory as of December 12, 2016. Then it will be necessary to state the calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and salt contained in the food. Furthermore, the 14 most important allergic substances have to be highlighted in the list of ingredients, i.e. printed in bold or in capitals.
Exceptions to these regulations are products sold by distance selling methods, which are not destined for the consumers, but instead for distributors. As such, the labelling obligation does not apply for example for online shops that operate in the B2B sector.