Does your label have the 12 essential components required to comply with the EU’s regulation on providing food information to consumers ( EU 1169/2011) ? Here’s our overview of the requirements
The name under which the product is sold
We’re sure that this is a given. But, does it require a legal name? A description? Is it in the same field of vision as the net quantity & alcohol volume? With a few defined exceptions, this should be the legal name. If you are using a recognized, customary name, you will need to use a description which should appear close to the product name.
Full list of ingredients
Prepacked foods with two or more ingredients must have a list of all the ingredients used in its production. All ingredients in a compound ingredient must be stated. For example, ‘Milk Chocolate’ must state all the ingredients of the chocolate rather than just stating ‘Milk Chocolate’
Allergens & intolerances
The 14 most common food allergies have been identified by the EU. Where these are present in your product, these must be identified in a clear manner on your label. This could be in bold, italic or underlined. You can even use a different colour, but this is not recommended as not all people can distinguish between certain colours.
Quantitative Ingredient Declaration or QUID
You need to state the quantity of ingredients in your food if :
- The name of an ingredient is included in the product name e.g. Lemon Cake
- The ingredient is inferred or associated with the name. e.g. Shepherd’s Pie
- The ingredient is emphasised by images or text such as ‘All butter‘
Net quantity or weight
All prepacked foods, without exception, must state the net weight of the product. Where the food is sold within a liquid, this must be the ‘drained weight’. In all cases this must be a metric weight. A font size is specified and this varies according to the product weight.
Minimum durability (use by) date
For quality and safety reasons, most pre-packed foods require a date code. Which one should you be using – use by or best before? Use by dates should be used on all perishable foods-those with a short shelf life. Best before dates are typically used for ambient, canned, dried and frozen foodstuffs and must be accompanied by storage conditions. Some frozen foods should also state the day, month and year that they were frozen on.
Storage or usage conditions
You should state any special storage conditions on your label including any that may differ once the product has been opened. Common wording includes:
- Refrigerate after opening
- Store in a cool dry place (16 – 18°C) and consume before the date given.
- Refrigerate after opening and use within 2 days
Name and contact details
The name or business name of the company marketing the food must appear on the label along with contact details. If the manufacturer is not based within the EU you must also include details of the importer. Space is always an issue and the contact details may be reduced to reflect this. These details should be sufficient for consumers to contact you in case of a complaint. You should include at least a postcode for written correspondence, but alsoconsider your target market – would they prefer email, web address or social media contact options?
Country of origin or place of provenance
With some foods you must state the country of origin. These include fresh fruit & vegetables, honey, olive oil and fish. Beef and beef products must include where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Meat from sheep, pigs, goats and poultry must state the country where the animal was reared and slaughtered (EU 1337/2013). Other foods must indicate their origin or provenance. This should be made clear especially if the name or label design suggests or implies that the food has a different country or place of origin.
Instructions for use
Where required, the label must contain instructions for the consumer to enjoy your product at its best and ensure that it is safe to consume. This could cover cooking, reheating or preparation instructions.
Alcohol by volume
This is required on all beverages with more than 1.2% alcohol by volume. The value must:
- be preceded by the word Alcohol or Alc.
- be followed by the % symbol
- should have not more than one decimal place.Did you know… Beverages with an alcohol content of over 1.2% do not need to have declared ingredients or nutritional details.
Mandatory information: Energy value, fat, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, protein, salt.
Optional information: Monounsaturates, polyunsaturates, polyols, starch, fibre, vitamins, minerals.
The energy value must be stated in both kilojoules (kJ) & kilocalories (kcal), the nutrients in grams (g) and always provided per 100g or 100ml’. It is optional to state the ‘per portion’ values*. Vitamins and minerals should be stated as a percentage of the Reference Intake (RI) as well as in micrograms (µg) or milligrams (mg).
*Be aware If you do state a per portion value, you must state the portion size and the number of portions per pack.