From 13 December2016 the indication of nutritional values ​​on food labels will become mandatory. Article 9, paragraph 1, letter l) of EU Reg. 1169/2011 enters into force, which provides for the nutrition declaration within the mandatory food information. The set of rules contained in Reg. 1169/2011 becomes effective two years after the entry into force of said Regulation.

Food business operators shall ensure that food labels contain a mandatory nutrition declaration that shall include the following indications:

  • energy value; and
  • the amount of fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt.

The content of the mandatory nutrition declaration may be supplemented with an indication of the amounts of one or more of the following:

  1. monounsaturated fatty acids;

  2. polyunsaturated fatty acids;

  3. polyols;

  4. starch;

  5. fiber;

  6. vitamins or minerals.

The nutrition claim shall be presented, if space permits, in tabular format with the numbers aligned or, where space does not permit, the declaration shall appear in linear format.

The energy value and the nutrient quantities shall be those of the food as sold. Such information may relate to the food after preparation, provided that sufficiently detailed preparation instructions are given and the information relates to the food as prepared for consumption.

The energy value and the amount of nutrients shall be expressed per 100 g or per 100 ml and also as a percentage of the reference intakes as described by the Regulation and by adding the caption: “Reference intake of an average adult (8400 kJ/ 2000 kcal)”.

It is also permissible to indicate the energy value and the amount of nutrients per portion and/or per consumption unit, provided that the portion or the unit used is quantified on the label and that the number of portions or units contained in the package is stated.

The obligation to indicate the energy value on the label is provided for all prepacked foods which include any single item for sale presented as such to the final consumer and to mass caterers, consisting of a foodstuff and the packaging into which it was put before being offered for sale, whether such packaging encloses the food completely or only partially, as defined by Article 2, paragraph 2 letter e) of said Regulation.

Products that do not fall within the definition of prepacked foods are exempted from the above-mentioned obligation as well as, according to Article 16 of the Regulation, products indicated by Annex V of the Regulation.

The exempted products include:

  • Unprocessed products or processed single-ingredient products or products with a single category of ingredients;
  • Water intended for human consumption;

  • Herbs, spices or mixtures thereof;

  • Salt and salt substitutes;

  • Table top sweeteners;

  • Coffee/decaffeinated coffee extract or coffee beans, chicory extracts;

  • Herbal and fruit infusions, tea, decaffeinated tea, instant or soluble tea or tea extract;

  • Fermented vinegars and substitutes;

  • Flavourings, food additives, processing aids, food enzymes;

  • Gelatin, jam setting compounds, yeast, chewing-gum;

  • Food in packaging or containers of which the largest surface has an area of less than 25 cm2;

  • Food, including handcrafted food, directly supplied by the manufacturer of small quantities of products to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer.

With inter-ministerial Circular of the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Health dated 16 November2016, an authentic interpretation of the scope of the previous point was provided, and it was stated said food category includes:

  • Handcrafted foods;

  • The direct supply by the manufacturer of small quantities of products directly to the final consumer or to local shops that sell directly to the final consumer;

  • Small quantities of products manufactured by craft and agricultural businesses which meet the requirements of micro-enterprises, as defined by art. 2 of Recommendation no. 2003/361/EC;

  • Products sold locally, i.e. within the territory of the province in which the company is active and neighboring provinces.