Food labelling rules
If you sell food or beverages in the EU, you must provide essential information so that the end consumer can make an informed decision on their purchase.
The information required must be:
- easy to see and understand
- not misleading
Mandatory information for prepacked foods
What type of information are you required to mention?
- name of the food
- ingredient list (including any additives)
- allergen information
- quantity of certain ingredients
- date marking (best before / use by)
- country of origin, if required for consumer clarity (example: products that display on their packaging country flags or famous landmarks)
- name and address of the food business operator established in the EU or importer
- net quantity
- any special storage conditions and/or conditions of use
- instructions for use if needed
- alcohol level for beverages (if higher than 1.2%)
- nutrition declaration
Under EU law and/or national law, some food products might also need to show specific warnings referring, for example, to ingredients not recommended for consumption by children (such as caffeine).
The list must be preceded by a heading that includes the word ‘ingredients' and must include all the ingredients of the food:
- in descending order of weight
- designated by their legal name
Quantity of certain ingredients
You must mention the quantity (by percentage) of any ingredients that:
- appear in the name of the product (example: ‘apple pie')
- are emphasised on the labelling in words, pictures or graphics (example: ‘with walnuts')
- are essential to characterise the food and to distinguish it from other foods
Any allergens present must be emphasised in the list of ingredients, for example by using a different font, letter size or background colour.
In the absence of a list of ingredients, the indication of allergens must include the word ‘contains' followed by the name of the allergen.
Mandatory information must be printed using a font with a minimum x-height of 1.2 millimetres. If the largest surface area of packaging is less than 80 cm², you can use a minimum x-height of 0.9 mm.
For packaging surface of less than 10 cm², you must list:
- name of the food
- any substances or products causing allergies or intolerances used during manufacture or preparation and present in the finished product
- net quantity of the food
- 'best before' or the ‘use by' date