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

Compulsory Information

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:

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.

Language Requirements

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.