New Food Labeling Rules

More detailed food product labeling to highlight the salt, sugar and fat content was supported in the European Parliament.

How did we get here?

For an efficient European Single Market it is essential that consumer protection standards and declaration requirements are harmonized on the EU level. In this case by making food labels and nutritional information clearer and more relevant to consumers.

Why is this important for me?

The goal was to establish labelling rules that will enable consumers to make well-informed choices, while at the same time limiting the administrative and financial burden on food businesses.


What's the content?

Food labels will show mandatory nutritional information and indicate recommended daily amounts. Nutrition labelling will have to be prominent and compulsory: Quantities such as fat, saturates, sugar, salt, calories and energy, details of protein, fibres and transfats must be indicated on the front of food packs.

However, in order to protect small-and-medium sized companies some exemptions for non-prepacked food and alcohol is put in place: For instance, meat from a butcher, microenterprises making handcrafted food products, alcoholic drinks are exempt from the regulation.

Additionally, country of origin labelling is already compulsory for certain foods, such as beef, honey, olive oil and fresh fruit and vegetables. This practice is now extended to all meat, poultry, dairy products and other single-ingredient products. Meat labels should indicate where the animal was born, reared and slaughtered. In addition, meat from slaughter without stunning should be labelled as such.

A clear majority of MEPs rejected a proposal that would have introduced a traffic light system, which would have required certain processed foods to bear red, gold and green values to indicate high, medium or low levels of salt, sugar and fat.

What is going to happen with this legislation in the future?

This bill was closed in 2010 and now Member States are obliged to honor this regulation in national legislation.

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