Effective 13 December 2014, the food labelling requirements set out in Regulation (EC) no. 1169/2011 apply.
One of the key changes of this new legislation is that the nutritional value of the 'Big 7' must be declared. This includes the energy value, fat content, saturated fats, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and salt per 100 grams or per 100 ml. In addition, this may also be identified by portion and the percentage of the established reference intake may also be mentioned. The mandatory substances may be supplemented with the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyols, starch, fibre and significant quantities of vitamins and minerals (see table for illustration purposes).
Furthermore, the energy content may be repeated on the front of the packaging (per 100 g/ml and in addition by portion); alone or together with the nutrients fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. If the energy content per portion is identified on the label, then the number of portions contained in the package must also be mentioned. The principle that applies to these nutrients is that they may be identified on the front in units per 100 g/ml òr per portion.
List of Ingredients
What is also new is that vegetable oils and fats must now be broken down by specific plant origin. This means that the specific specie(s) must be identified, but that the use of category names ('vegetable oils', 'vegetable fats', 'vegetable oils and fats') will remain voluntary. When a group name is used together with the addition 'in different proportions', it is not necessary to identify the specific vegetable oils and fats in sequence of declining weight. When a category name is used, the total amount of vegetable oil and/or fat counts as the ingredient on the list of ingredients.
Furthermore, the designation hydrogenated for hydrogenated vegetable or animal oils or fats will be replaced by 'fully hydrogenated' for fully hydrogenated oils and fats, or 'partially hydrogenated' for partially hydrogenated oils and fats.
MVO has prepared a position on the labelling of rapeseed/colza oil with the conclusion that Colza Oil and Rapeseed Oil are synonyms. MVO Position on the Labelling of Rapeseed/Colza Oil.
Article 21 of Regulation no. 1169/2011 stipulates that substances that cause allergic reactions or intolerances must be included in the list of ingredients. The identification of such substances must be emphasised by using a deviating typography, such as a deviating font (for example, printed in bold, different font colour). In addition to this legal obligation, a producer may decide to voluntarily identify the allergens present in the food product on the packaging; for example by including the header 'Allergy information: contains ...'. This additional identification is permitted, but may not replace the legal obligation.
FEDIOL has prepared a statement on the exception concerning the labelling of refined soy and peanut oil as allergens: ‘Code of Practice on the production and labelling of certain oils in connection with allergy’.
The FDE has prepared a manual on best practices for the food industry concerning the risk management of allergens. To view this manual visit the FDE's Website.
Country of Origin
Identification of the country of origin/place of origin remains mandatory, since the omission of this information could mislead the consumer concerning the actual country of origin or the actual place of origin. Furthermore, this remains mandatory for beef, honey, fresh vegetables and fruit, and olive oil. The way that the mandatory designation of origin is to be provided for when dealing with pig, sheep, goat and poultry meat was clarified at the end of 2013. Read MVO's position in origin labelling here.
Genetically Modified Organisms
The labelling of food produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is set out in separate regulations. The provisions for labelling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) permitted in the European Union and foods with genetically modified ingredients are set out in Regulation (EC) no. 1829/2003. This Regulation stipulates that when a food or an ingredient is genetically modified, then the name or the list of ingredients must be supplemented with the notification 'produced with genetically modified x'. This notification must be added immediately after the name of the relevant ingredient in the list of ingredients, or be added through means of a reference using an asterisk.
Additional Information about Regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011:
For more information about the European labelling requirements visit the European Commission's website at http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/foodlabelling/proposed_legislation_en.htm and the NVWA's website at http://www.nvwa.nl/onderwerpen/regels-voor-ondernemers-eten-en-drinken/dossier/etikettering-van-levensmiddelen.
FoodDrinkEurope and Eurocommerce have prepared a guidance to assist retailers and food producers in implementing the labelling requirements. Download the guidance here.
The Delegated Regulation (EU) no. 2016/127 among other things (in Article 7, paragraph 2, sub a) stipulates that the mandatory nutrition declaration for infant formula and follow-on formula pursuant to Regulation (EU) no. 1169/2011 may be supplemented by additional information such as the amount of protein, carbohydrates or fat components. Annex I and II contain the composition requirements for various substances, including proteins and lipids, in infant formula and follow-on formula, respectively.
Article 6 of the Delegated Regulation (EU) no. 2016/128 contains the special requirements concerning the supplementary (mandatory) nutrition declaration of components such as fats and proteins in food for medical purposes.
Food Information (Commodities Act) Decree
In the Netherlands, specific components of the Regulation (such as penalisation and the use of, at a minimum, the Dutch language on the label) are included in the Food Information (Commodities Act) Decree. Download the Decree here.