New EU food safety regulations may prove too much to digest

By Esme Saynor

A new EU regulation (1169/2011) on the provision of food information to consumers consolidates and updates two areas of labelling legislation — general food and nutrition labelling — into a single text. This will apply the labelling rules in a way that is consistent across the EU. The intention is that packaging and labelling plays a part in the health of consumers. Ultimately the information is to be more inclusive, with a focus on nutrition, allergens and country of origin, as well as being in larger print and increasing clarity. The issues raised by industry have centred around the increased amount of information required coupled with increased size and clarity — how will these sit with consistent branding as well as smaller packaging? 

The new rules will apply from 13 December 2014. The obligation to provide nutrition information will apply from 13 December 2016 for manufacturers who have yet to introduce nutrition labelling on their products, whereas manufacturers who already provide nutrition information must comply with the new rules by December 2014.

The regulation will change existing EU legislation on food labelling by requiring packaging/labels to include (among other changes) the following: nutrition labelling will be required for most foods and there is mandatory nutrition information on all processed foods including energy, fat, saturates, carbohydrates and salt. Simplified information may be provided voluntarily also on the front of the pack…

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