On 21 November 2017, the European Commission has published the Commission Notice on the application of the principle of quantitative ingredients declaration (QUID) which provides further guidance on the obligation to indicate the quantity of ingredients required by Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. The Notice replaces and complements the guidelines on QUID adopted in 1998 under Directive 79/112/EEC.

Obligation to indicate QUID

According to the FIC Regulation 1169/2011, the quantitative ingredients declaration – so-called “QUID” – is a mandatory particular that must appear either in or immediately next to the name of the food or in the list of ingredients.

This mandatory declaration actually exists since the adoption of Directive 79/112/EEC on the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs for sale to the ultimate consumer. It has meanwhile been taken over by the FIC Regulation, with some adjustments and updates.

Basically, the quantity of ingredients present in a food has to be labelled, in % of weight, when such ingredient:

    • appears in the name of the food or is usually associated with that name by the consumer,
      • e.g. ‘ham and mushroom pizza’, ‘fish fingers’, ‘biscuits with cream filling’, ‘boudoir’ (biscuit with eggs);
    • is emphasized on the labelling in words, pictures or graphics,
      • e.g. ‘made with butter’; image or drawing of a cow to emphasise dairy ingredients: milk and butter; or
    • is essential to characterize a food and to distinguish it from products with which it might be confused because of its name or appearance, e.g. mayonnaise, marzipan.

Specific derogations are nevertheless provided.

What’s new in the Notice of the Commission?

The Notice provides guidance on how to express QUID and how to interpret the exemptions laid down by the FIC Regulation. In that respect, it builds upon the previous guidelines by giving more comprehensive and detailed examples.

The Notice also illustrates how to express QUID when it comes to foods that have lost moisture following their treatment, to volatile ingredients, and to concentrated or dehydrated foods and ingredients.

All in all, while not binding, the new guidelines offer useful assistance to food operators

Finally, it is important to note that the Commission Notice is not legally binding. The ultimate interpretation of the EU legislation lies with the EU Court of Justice. However, the Commission Notice provides food operators with a large range of detailed examples to help them to better understand their obligations regarding QUID.