The EU’s “Food Information to Consumers (FIC)” Regulation 1169/2011, applicable since December 13, 2104, introduced new obligations and changes to the previous labeling rules. The FIC regulation refers to “food information” rather than “food labeling”. Article 2 of the FIC regulation defines food information as “information concerning a food and made available to the final consumer by means of a label, other accompanying material, or any other means including modern technology tools or verbal communication”.
Article 9 of the FIC regulation sets out the following list of mandatory information that should be provided for all foods:
- Name of the food
- List of ingredients
- Allergens listed in Annex II to the FIC regulation
- Quantitative ingredients declaration (QUID)
- Net quantity
- Date of minimum durability or “use by” date and date of freezing
- Any special storage conditions and/or conditions of use
- Name or business name and address of food business operator, if not established in the EU –> importer
- Country of origin labeling (COOL) for certain products
- Instructions for use
- Actual strength by volume for beverages containing more than 1.2 percent alcohol by volume
- Nutrition declaration
- Ingredients or category of ingredients that require a specific indication (warning labels)
Minimum Font Size
Article 13 of the FIC regulation stipulates that the mandatory food information must be marked in a conspicuous place in such a way as to be easily visible, clearly legible and, where appropriate, indelible. The mandatory food information may not be obscured or interrupted by any other written or pictorial material. To ensure clear legibility, mandatory food information must be printed in characters using a font size where the x-height, as defined in Annex IV, is equal to or greater than 1.2 mm. For packages with a surface smaller than 80 cm2, the minimum font size must be at least 0.9 mm.
List of Ingredients
The list of ingredients must be preceded by a heading that consists of or includes the word “Ingredients”. All the ingredients of the food must be listed in descending order of weight. The presence of ingredients in the form of engineered nano-materials must be indicated in the list of ingredients. The name of such ingredients must be followed by the word “nano” in brackets.
The mandatory food information must be provided in a language easily understood by the consumers of the Member State where the food is marketed. For certain Member States, this means that the mandatory food information must be provided in more than one official EU language.
For detailed information on the EU’s food labeling requirements see the EU FAIRS (Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards) Report.