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Food labelling

The regulation on food labelling, entered into force many years ago, is certainly one of the reference regulations for the food sector and is under continuous update. In order to ensure the safety of the product, and maximum transparency for consumers, the Member States authorities cooperates so that all different aspects of the food labelling are regulated and harmonised.

Labelling means any wording, particulars, trade marks, brand name, picture or symbol referred to a food and placed on any packaging, document, notice, label, ring or collar accompanying or referring to such food.

The regulations provides for that some (indicative, non exhaustive) mandatory information is reported in the label, such as the name of the product, name and address of the Food Business Operator placing the product on the market, weight net, list of ingredients, and any potential allergen, nutrition declaration; for each piece of information the regulation provides for conditions and specific wording requiring a careful examination to be adjusted to the individual business and manufacturing needs.

To indicate the minimum durability, for instance, expressions like «Best before…» or «Best before end…» are acceptable, depending on how the date is expressed on the packaging.

In addition, other optional information can be reported in the label, such as nutrition and health indications regarding specific ingredients or any certification obtained that can represent an added value for special needs or preferences of some categories of consumers.

In fact, the use of claims (such as sugar-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, suitable for vegans) is more and more frequent, allowing consumers to appropriately identify food and drinks.

A clear and correct labelling of the product is therefore an essential requirement for its presentation to consumers. Food Business Operators are entrusted with the task of reporting all indications correctly and in compliance with the norms as well as with the so called ‘Fair Information Practices’.

As already mentioned, the regulations on labelling have been continuously updated. Food Business Operators have to adjust all information to the regulation in force. It is not difficult to find on the market food labelled with not compliant nutrition declarations or including information concerning categories of products that do not exist anymore in the current regulating framework.

Di Renzo Regulatory Affairs is always updated on the subject and offers assistance to all companies (preparation of the label texts, suggestions of nutrition and health indications to be reported, packaging graphic design, assessment and correction of advertising claims).

Written by: Juliana Bundo