EU law on food information to consumers
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC Regulation) entered into application on 13 December 2014. The obligation to provide nutrition information applies since 13 December 2016.
This Regulation provides in particular clearer and harmonised presentation of allergens (e.g. soy, nuts, gluten, and lactose) for prepacked foods (emphasis by font, style or background colour) in the list of ingredients and mandatory allergen information for non-prepacked foods, including in restaurants and cafes. It also foresees certain nutrition information for the majority of prepacked processed foods, the mandatory origin information for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry and the same labelling requirements for online, distance selling or buying in a shop.
The Regulation clarifies the responsibilities of food business operators with respect to food information.
Background information on the adoption of the Regulation and more on the Commission proposal of January 2008 can be found here.
Revision of the Regulation on Food Information to Consumers
As part of the Farm-to-Fork Strategy, the European Commission announced to revise EU rules on the information provided to consumers. The aim of revising the FIC Regulation is to ensure better labelling information to help consumers make healthier and more sustainable food choices and tackle food waste, by proposing to:
- introduce harmonised mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling and set nutrient profiling criteria to restrict claims made on foods;
- extend mandatory origin or provenance information for certain products;
- revise the rules on date marking (‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates)
In addition, the proposed revision of the FIC Regulation will follow up on the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan by considering to:
- introduce mandatory indications of the list of ingredients and the nutrition declaration for all alcoholic beverages.
More information on the initiatives being considered for the proposed revision and details regarding stakeholder consultation activities can be found here.
A future Sustainability Labelling Framework
In the Farm to Fork Strategy, the Commission announced a proposal for a sustainability labelling framework to empower consumers to make informed and sustainable food choices.
The proposal will govern the provision of information to consumers related to the sustainability of food products. In synergy with other relevant labelling initiatives like the ones on front-of-pack nutrition labelling (see above), animal welfare labelling and 'green claims', it will cover the provision of consumer information relating to the nutritional, climate, environmental and social aspects of food products.
The sustainability labelling framework is part of the Sustainable Food System Framework initiative. The inception impact assessment for this initiative was published for public consultation from 28 September 2021 until 26 October 2021 and the feedback can be found here. The feedback period aimed at offering all interested parties, including citizens, the possibility to participate effectively in consultation activities and to contribute to the policy-making cycle. 230 contributions were received, among which 98 targeted sustainability labelling.