Food Labelling

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Changed on: 24.04.2019
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Food labelling is governed by Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. The concept of "food information" is broadly defined by this European legislation and includes any information concerning a foodstuff which is made available to the final consumer through a label or other accompanying material or in any other form, including by modern technological means or orally. In addition to the declaration of the essential information elements, many detailed and special regulations are included.

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Food labelling is governed by Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. The concept of "food information" is broadly defined by this European legislation and includes any information concerning a foodstuff which is made available to the final consumer through a label or other accompanying material or in any other form, including by modern technological means or orally. In addition to the declaration of the essential information elements, many detailed and special regulations are included.

General information

Compulsory particulars on foodstuffs

The labelling of foodstuffs must include the following information

  1. the name of the foodstuff
  2. the list of ingredients
  3. allergenic ingredients and processing aids (according to Annex III LMIV)
  4. the quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients
  5. the net quantity of the foodstuff
  6. the date of minimum durability or the date of consumption
  7. where appropriate, special instructions for storage and/or instructions for use
  8. the name or business name and address of the food business Operator
  9. the country or place of origin (where provided for in Article 26 of LMIV)
  10. instructions for use if it would be difficult to use the food appropriately without such instructions
  11. for beverages with an alcoholic strength by volume exceeding 1,2 % by volume, the indication of the actual alcoholic strength by volume
  12. one nutrition declaration

Nutrition Declaration

The nutrition declaration, which has been mandatory since December 2016, is intended to support a better choice also with regard to a healthy and balanced diet.

The declaration of nutritional values includes seven elements: the calorific value and the amounts of fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and salt. Information must be given per 100 g or 100 ml. In addition, information may be given on vitamins and minerals present in significant quantities. In this case, the percentage of the reference daily intake (in adults) corresponding to this information must also be indicated.
Further supplementary forms of presentation are the information per portion or unit of consumption and as a percentage of the recommended reference amounts of each nutrient. On the main display page, the calorific value may be repeated with or without the amounts of fat, saturated fats, sugars and salt. The mandatory nutrition declaration may also be supplemented by the declaration of the quantities of the following substances: monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyhydric alcohols, starch, fibre.

There are exemptions from the obligation to indicate nutritional values, for example, for foodstuffs, including artisanal foodstuffs, which are supplied directly by the manufacturer in small quantities of products to the final consumer or to local retail shops which supply the products directly to the final consumer. See BMASGK information.

Allergens

The Food Information Ordinance requires the indication of the most important allergens. These are 14 substances or products that can cause allergies or intolerances. In the case of packaged goods, allergenic substances must be highlighted in the list of ingredients, for example in bold type or in a special font.
In the case of open goods, information about allergenic ingredients must also be provided. Every EU member state can issue national regulations to this effect. Austria has implemented this in the Allergen Information Ordinance BGBl II No. 175/2014 as amended. This stipulates that the information can be given either in writing in the form of signs, notices, price lists, menu plans or the menu or verbally. An oral information may take place only by trained persons, on which in a notice must be pointed out. A special allergy menu can be used to support oral information. In any case, comprehensible documentation must be available in the company. More information on allergens can be found under "Allergens".

Implementing and delegated legal acts

The Food Information Regulation provides for extensive powers for the adoption of further implementing and delegated acts by the European Commission.
The Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013 made it compulsory to declare the origin of fresh, chilled or frozen pig, sheep, goat and poultry meat, while the origin of beef must have been declared since 2000.
Another planned implementing regulation concerns the obligation to indicate the origin of the primary ingredients in the case of voluntary indications of origin on the packaging, such as illustrations, place names or symbols. This applies to the ingredients of a foodstuff which make up more than 50% of this foodstuff or which consumers usually associate with the name of the foodstuff.
Implementing regulations always include a transitional period to allow the label to be changed and always apply on 1 April of each year.

Questions of Interpretation

Questions & Answers concerning the interpretation of the Food Information Regulation have been published by the European Commission and the Austrian Ministry of Health, and will be supplemented or revised as appropriate. See EU legislation on food labelling

Voluntary indications on food

In addition to the mandatory particulars, food business operators may place further information or illustrations. However, they may not restrict the space available for the compulsory particulars, nor may compulsory particulars be separated or interrupted by voluntary particulars such as those in the list of ingredients. In the case of voluntary information, the provisions on protection against deception must be observed.

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