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Food Safety

Mandatory food information

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 establishes the general principles, requirements and responsibilities governing food information, and in particular food labelling.

It lays down the means to guarantee the right of consumers to information and procedures for the provision of food information, taking into account the need to provide sufficient flexibility to respond to future developments and new information requirements (Article 1, par. 2).

The Regulation applies to food business operators at all stages of the food chain, where their activities concern the provision of food information to consumers. It applies to all foods intended for the final consumer, including foods delivered by mass caterers, and foods intended for supply to mass caterers (Article 1, par. 3).

The Regulation applies without prejudice to labelling requirements provided for in specific Union provisions applicable to particular foods (Article 1, par. 4).

Member States may, in addition to the mandatory particulars referred to in Article 9(1) and in Article 10, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 45, adopt national measures requiring additional mandatory particulars for specific types of foods, if justified on clearly specified grounds (Article 39, par. 1).

A. Prepacked foods

For the labeling of prepacked foods, the Regulation sets out a list of mandatory particulars that are required to be provided to the final consumer (Article 9, par. 1):

  • Name of the food;
  • List of ingredients;
  • Any ingredient or processing aid listed in Annex II or derived from a substance or product listed in Annex II causing allergies or intolerances used in the manufacture or preparation of a food and still present in the finished product, even if in an altered form;
  • Quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients;
  • Net quantity of the food;
  • Date of minimum durability ('best before' date) or the 'use by' date;
  • Any special storage conditions and/or conditions of use;
  • Name or business name and address of the food business operator referred to in Article 8, par.1;
  • Country of origin or place of provenance where provided for in Article 26;
  • Instructions for use where it would be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions;
  • With respect to beverages containing more than 1,2 % by volume of alcohol, the actual alcoholic strength by volume;
  • Nutrition declaration.

Additional mandatory particulars for specific types or categories of foods laid down in Annex III (Article 10, par. 1).

B. Non-prepacked foods

For non-prepacked foods (foods which are offered for sale to the final consumer or to mass caterers without prepackaging, or foods which are packed on the sales premises at the consumer's request or prepacked for direct sale) it is mandatory to provide information about the substances and products causing allergies or intolerances present in the product (Article 44, par. 1 (a)).

A list of substances and products causing allergies or intolerances is provided in Annex II of the Regulation.

The provision of other particulars referred to in Articles 9 and 10 of the Regulation is not mandatory unless Member States adopt national measures requiring the provision of some or all of those particulars or elements of those particulars (Article 44, par. 1 (b)).

Member States may also adopt national measures concerning the means through which the particulars or elements of those particulars are to be made available and, where appropriate, their form of expression and presentation (Article 44, par. 2).