The provisions of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 (the "Regulation") came into force across the EU on 13 December 2014. The Regulation updates the legislation governing the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs. The core objective of the Regulation is that food information must not be misleading.
Some of the main areas covered by the Regulation, and which consumers can expect to see change in, include:
Allergen information: The Regulation extends current labelling requirements, i.e. indicating the presence of any one of 14 specific ingredients which may cause allergenic reactions, to foods sold loose, such as food in restaurants, take-aways, canteens, deli counters etc.
Country of origin: The new rules extend the country of origin requirement to the meat of pigs, sheep, goats and poultry.
Nutrition information: the provision of nutrition information is currently voluntary, unless a nutrition related claim is made. This will change on 13 December 2016, when most food products must carry a ‘nutrition declaration’. This will include details of the energy value and amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt contained in the foodstuff.
Font sizes: mandatory labelling information such as ingredients used and the ‘best before’ date must be clearly set out in an easily readable manner.
Distance selling: any food sold through distance selling (i.e. via the internet) must meet the same information requirements as food sold in shops. The Regulation requires that relevant mandatory food information must also be available to the consumer before the food is purchased, with the exception of the‘best before’ date.