United States Mission to the European Union
Foreign Agricultural Service
United States Department Of Agriculture
Last modified: December 12, 2017

EU Labeling Requirements

General labeling requirements 

The standard U.S. label does not comply with the EU’s labeling requirements.  On December 13, 2014, the EU’s new “Food Information to Consumers (FIC)” Regulation 1169/2011 becomes applicable and introduces new obligations and changes to the existing rules.  The FIC regulation establishes new horizontal labeling requirements and repeals labeling directive 2000/13/EC, as well as nutrition labeling directive 90/496/EEC and warning labels directive 2008/5/EC.

The key changes introduced by the FIC Regulation are listed below:

  • Nutrition labeling becomes mandatory on  December 13, 2016
  • Minimum font size for printing mandatory information
  • New format for allergen labeling (allergens must be highlighted in the list of ingredients – “allergen boxes” are no longer allowed)
  • Voluntary front-of-pack labeling has to follow a set format
  • Country of origin labeling is extended to more products
  • Durability date AND “frozen on” date must be indicated on frozen products
  • “Use by date” must be indicated on individual pre-packed portions
  • Specific treatments such as “refrozen”, “concentrated”, “smoked”, “powdered” must be added to the product name
  •  Alcoholic strength by volume for beverages containing more than 1.2 percent by volume of alcohol must appear in the same field of vision as the product name
  • Proteins added to meat products that are of a different animal origin must be declared in the list of ingredients
  • Presence of added water must be declared on meat and fishery products if the added water makes up more than 5 percent of the finished product
  • Vegetable origin of oils and fats must be indicated in the list of ingredients

Detailed information on the new labeling requirements can be found in  GAIN report “How to comply with the EU’s new food labeling rules”GAIN report “New EU food labeling rules published” and on the following webpages:

The European Commission has also published a  “Questions and Anwsers on the application of Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers” document intended to assist food busisness operators in applying the FIC regulation correctly (published January 31, 2013).

Specific labeling requirements 

In addition to the general labeling requirements, specific labeling requirements have been published separately for specific products and interests such as diet and nutrition.

Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) Reports

The “Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards” (FAIRS) reports are market access reports offering detailed overviews of labeling, certification and other import requirements for food and agricultural products.  FAIRS reports include summaries of food laws and standards currently in force in the EU and the different Member States.