The new Regulation updates existing EU legislation on food labeling, particularly in respect to processed foods, fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry, and allergens (notably as present in peanuts, milk and pre-packed foods).
The new legislation makes it mandatory to provide nutrition information at the front of the package of all pre-packaged foods: contents in terms of calories, fat, saturated fat, salt and carbohydrates, with specific reference to the content in sugars. These are to be expressed in terms of per 100ml/100g or per portion.
This essential information has to be presented in a legible way: the Regulation stipulates that the minimum print size is 3mm. Also, there has to be significant contrast between the writing and the label’s background.
Existing EU legislation (Regulation 834/2007), effective from July 2010, already provides for the labeling of organic products, using the EU’s organic label. Foods may only be marked as “organic” if at least 95% of their agricultural ingredients are indeed organic. Ingredients in non-organic food may be listed as organic in the list of ingredients, as long as this food has been produced in accordance with the EU legislation.
The use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and of products manufactured from GMOs is still prohibited in organic production. Products containing GMOs may not be labeled as organic, unless the ingredients containing GMOs entered the products unintentionally and the GMO proportion in the ingredient is less than 0.9%.
EU legislation also exists on the criteria to be applied when marketing and labeling so-called ‘free range’ or ‘barn’ eggs.
A year ago, two further Regulations, due to come into force in June 2013, were enacted on the identification of additives used in foodstuffs and in food ingredients. Information about these additives is available through a European Commission database at https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sanco_foods/?sector=FADby Nick Klenske, AmCham