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How does the EU regulate the food information to consumers?

There is an increasing consumer awareness of the impact the food we eat has on our health. To this regard, consumers may find an essential source of information in food labelling.

The European Union brought the set of rules on the labelling, presentation and advertising of food together in a single legislative text, EU Regulation 1169/2011.

EU Regulation 1169/2011

EU Regulation 1169/2011 was first published in 2011 and came into effect from December 2014. The aim of this regulation is the protection of public health, and therefore, to ensure a good level of consumer’s protection and to help consumers make well-informed choices about the food they consume. It affects all food manufacturers producing or selling within the territories of the European Union member states. EU Regulation 1169/2011 is also intended to protect local quality labels while ensuring the free movement of goods within the Community, the fairness of trade and also the protection of consumer’s health and interests.

Innovations introduced by the EU Regulation 1169/2011 are marked by the mandatory need for nutrition labelling and specific information about the presence of allergens. In accordance with the regulation 1169/2011, the mandatory food information indication of the following particulars shall be:

Mandatory Food Labelling Information includes: Name of the food; List of ingredients; Substances causing allergy intolerance; Quantitative ingredient declaration; Net quantity of the food; Minimum durability date; Special storage/use conditions; Food business operator's name and address; Country/place of origin or provenance; Instructions for use; Nutrient declaration Mandatory Food Labelling Information

Regarding nutritional declaration, the obligatory nutritional declaration shall include the information on the energy value and information of the following nutrients (expressed per 100 g or per 100 ml of product):

Nutrition Declaration includes Fat, Saturates, Carbohydrates, Sugars, Protein and Salt Nutritional Declaration

Some food products are exempt from mandatory nutrition declaration, such as unprocessed products, water, herbs, sweeteners, salt, flavorings and additives.

Mandatory nutrition labeling may be supplemented with the indication of the amounts of further nutrients such as:

Supplementary Nutritional Labelling Declaration may include Monounsaturates, Polyunsaturates, Polyols, Starch, Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals Supplementary Nutritional Information

In addition, the allergenic ingredients must be indicated in the list of ingredients with clear reference to name of the substance or product. Food ingredients that must be declared as allergens in the EU include:

Allergic ingredients in the EU includes: Peanuts, Mustard, Shellfish, Sesame, Nuts, Lupin, Molluscs, Celery, Milk, Eggs, Soya, Fish, Cereals containing gluten and Sulphur dioxide Allergens to be declared in the EU

In summary, EU Regulation 1169/2011 seeks to ensure a high level of information security for consumers and gives more responsibility to manufacturers, retailers and food services.

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Food Science

EIT Food