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General Labelling Provisions for Foodstuffs

EU Legislation

Council Directive 2000/13/EC (OJ L109, p29, 06/05/2000) of 20 March on the approximation of laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs

Corrected by

Amended by

  • Commission Directive 2001/101/EC (OJ L310, p19, 28/11/2001) of 26 November 2001
  • Commission Directive 2002/86/EC (OJ L305, p19, 07/11/2002) of 6 November 2002 amending Directive 2001/101/EC as regards the date from which trade in products not in conformity with Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council is prohibited
  • Directive 2003/89/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L308, p15, 25/11/2003) of 10 November 2003 amending Directive 2000/13/EC as regards indication of the ingredients present in foodstuffs
  • Commission Directive 2006/142/EC (OJ L368, p110, 23/12/2006 ) of 22 December 2006 amending Annex IIIa of Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council listing the ingredients which must under all circumstances appear on the labelling of foodstuffs 
  • Commission Directive 2007/68/EC of 27 November 2007 (OJ L310, p11, 28/11/2007) amending Annex IIIa to Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards certain food ingredients
  • Regulation (EC) No 1332/2008  (OJ L354, p7, 31/12/2008) of 16 December 2008 on food enzymes
  • Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008  (OJ L 354, p34, 31/12/2008) of 16 December 2008 on food flavourings
  •  Regulation (EC) No 596/2009  ( OJ L188, p14, 18/07/2009) of 18 June 2009

Commission Directive 2005/26/EC (OJ L75, p33, 22/03/2005) of 21 March 2005 establishing a list of food ingredients or substances provisionally excluded from Annex IIIa of Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (repealed on 26th November 2007)

Corrected by

Commission Directive 2005/63/EC (OJ L258, p3, 04/10/2005) of 3 October 2005 correcting Directive 2005/26/EC concerning the list of food ingredients or substances provisionally excluded from Annex IIIa of Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council

Adapted by

Council Directive 2006/107/EC (OJ L p411, 20/12/2006 ) of 20 November 2006 adapting Directive 89/108/EEC relating to quick-frozen foodstuffs for human consumption and Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs, by reason of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania

Consolidated version of Council Directive 2000/13/EC ( up to 20th January 2011) 

Commission Directive 2008/5/EC (OJ L27, p12, 31/01/2008) of 30 January 2008 concerning the compulsory indication on the labelling of certain foodstuffs of particulars other than those provided for in Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (Codified version)

National Legislation

  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Food stuffs) Regulations, 2002 (S.I. No. 483 of 2002)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Food stuffs) (Amendment) Regulations, 2003 (S.I. No. 257 of 2003)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations, 2003 (S.I. No. 451 of 2003)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations, 2003 (S.I. No. 528 of 2003)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) Regulations, 2005 (S.I. No. 228 of 2005)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2005 (S.I. No. 514 of 2005)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2005 (S.I. No. 647 of 2005)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No 376 of 2007)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 808 of 2007)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 424 of 2008)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 61 of 2009)
  • European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 381 of 2013)

S.I. No. 483 of 2002 implements the provisions of Directives 2000/13/EC87/250/EEC94/54/EC as amended by Council Directive 96/21/EC, and Commission Directive 1999/10/EC. They revoke and replace the European Communities (Labelling, Presentation and Advertising of Foodstuffs) Regulations, 2000 (S.I. No. 92 of 2000). The labelling Directive 2000/13/EC consolidates and repeals the previous Directive 79/112/EEC and its amendments.

The current legislation applies to the general labelling of pre-packaged foodstuffs for sale to the consumer and the catering industry within the European Union. Foods for export to a country outside of the EU are exempted.

A general requirement of the Regulations is that the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs must be clear, unambiguous and must not mislead the consumer to a material degree. It must not attribute to a foodstuff, properties for the prevention, treatment or cure of a human illness.

'Labelling' shall mean any words, particulars, trade marks, brand name, pictorial matter or symbol relating to a foodstuff and placed on any packaging, document, notice, label, ring or collar accompanying or referring to such foodstuffs. The information provided on the label must be easy to understand, be clearly legible, it must also be indelible, easy to see and not obscured in any way. Food products, including food imports sold in Ireland must be labelled in English (with optional labelling in Irish).

The essential information that must appear on the packaging of pre-packaged foodstuffs or on the attached label is as follows:

  • the name under which the product is sold
  • the list of ingredients
  • the quantity of certain ingredients (QUID)
  • the net quantity
  • the date of minimum durability
  • any special storage instructions or conditions of use
  • the name or business name and address of the manufacturer or packager or of a seller within the European Union
  • place of origin of the foodstuff if its absence might mislead the consumer to a material degree
  • instructions for use where necessary
  • beverages with more than 1.2% alcohol by volume must declare their actual alcoholic strength.

S.I. No. 451 of 2003 amends the labelling regulation so that Article 3(1), point 4 and Article 8(1) to (4) of Directive 2000/13/EC shall not apply to sugar confectionary products nor to cocoa and chocolate products referred to in Annex I of Directive 2000/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 June 2000 2 , being products, in any of the foregoing cases, that have a net weight of less than 50 grams.

Commission Directive 2008/5/EC sets out the compulsory indication(s) on the labelling of certain foodstuffs of particulars other than those provided for in Directive 2000/13/EC. The Annex to the Directive contains a list of foodstuffs for which the labelling must include one or more additional particulars. This Directive was published on the 31st January 2008 and it codified and repealedCommission Directive 94/54/EC and its amendments.

Commission Directive 2008/5/EC sets out labelling requirements for foodstuffs containing glycyrrhizinic acid or its ammonium salt as follows:

  • Confectionery or beverages containing glycyrrhizinic acid or its ammonium salt due to the addition of the substance(s) as such or the liquorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, at concentration of 100 mg/kg or 10 mg/l or above, must include the term‘contains liquorice’ immediately after the list of ingredients, unless the term ‘liquorice’ is already included in the list of ingredients or in the name under which the product is sold. In the absence of a list of ingredients, the particular must be placed near the name under which the product is sold.
  • Confectionery containing glycyrrhizinic acid or its ammonium salt due to the addition of the substance(s) as such or the liquorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra at concentrations of 4 g/kg or above, must include the following message after the list of ingredients: ‘contains liquorice – people suffering from hypertension should avoid excessive consumption’. In the absence of a list of ingredients, the particular must be placed near the name under which the product is sold.
  • Beverages containing glycyrrhizinic acid or its ammonium salt due to the addition of the substance(s) as such or the liquorice plant Glycyrrhiza glabra at concentrations of 50 mg/l or above, or of 300 mg/l or above in the case of beverages containing more than 1.2 % by volume of alcohol must include the following message after the list of ingredients: ‘contains liquorice – people suffering from hypertension should avoid excessive consumption’. In the absence of a list of ingredients, the particular shall be placed near the name under which the product is sold.

Commission Directive 2008/5/EC also requires that:

  • foodstuffs whose durability has been extended by means of packing gases authorised under Council Directive 89/107/EEC (food additives) labelling must include the statement " packaged in a protective atmosphere".
  • Foodstuffs containing a sweetener or sweeteners as authorised by Directive 94/35/EC must state ‘with sweetener(s)’. This particular must accompany the name under which the product is sold, as laid down in Article 5 of Directive 2000/13/EC 
  • Foodstuffs containing both an added sugar or sugars and a sweetener or sweeteners as authorised by Directive 94/35/EC must state ‘with sugar(s) and sweetener(s)’. This particular must accompany the name under which the
    product is sold as laid down in Article 5 of Directive 2000/13/EC Foodstuffs containing aspartame must state ‘contains a source of phenylalanine’
  • Foodstuffs containing more than 10 % added polyols must state ‘excessive consumption may produce laxative effects’
     

Last reviewed: 15/10/2013

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