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EU Legislation Nutrition Labelling

EU Legislation Nutrition Labelling

A few years back, the European Commission recently published an updated regulation on the provision of information on food to consumers. This has been made applicable to all of the member states under the European Union. The regulation makes it mandatory the nutrition food labelling for pre-packed products.

Mandatory Food Labelling
After eight years of continuous negotiation, the EU legislation nutrition labelling has finally replaced the older directive on labelling. This new regulation imposes the mandatory nutrition labelling of food items, instructing the different food manufacturers to offer information regarding the energy value of the product along with six nutrients, in the following exact order: fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein, and salt. They should also be expressed for every 100g or every 100 ml of the product.

The information needs to be presented in a form of a nutrition table, most likely at the back of the pre-packed food, and may also be presented on a per portion measurement. Other nutrients may also be voluntarily included. As such, it is highly important to acknowledge that the regulation mandates only nutrition labelling within the ‘same’ vision field, that is, at the back of the pack. On the other hand, labelling at the ‘principal’ vision field stays voluntary.

There are specific rules that also apply if the information is presented repeatedly at the front of the package, which may contain the energy alone, or as a combination of the other elements. In these scenarios, the energy value needs to be shown in absolute amounts, that is, per 100g or 100 ml. They should also be presented per portion.

For most of the labels on food packaging, there is a required minimum font size, that is, 1.2mm for all food information. This food labelling requirement is mandatory. On the other hand, smaller packaging also requires a smaller minimum requirement for its font size, that is, 0.9 mm. On top of that, some voluntary details, such as claims or slogans, need not be shown in a way that can impinge the presentation of the mandated information.

Some Exemptions
The EU legislation nutrition labelling also has some other guidelines. However, there are also some exemptions as well. For instance, it exempts specific food categories coming from the requirements. These exemptions include items or foods that are unprocessed with which nutrition information is not considered as a factor to determine the purchasing decision of consumers, or for which the entire packaging may be too small in accommodating the requirements that are mandated. At the same time, alcoholic beverages are also exempt from these requirements. However, after a few more years, some updated amendments may be imposed as well.
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