Labelling of Flavourings
Specific provisions on the labelling of flavourings sold as such to the manufacturer or to the final consumer are contained in Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 .
Flavourings should not be used in a way as to mislead the consumer about issues related to, amongst other things, the nature, freshness, quality of ingredients used, the naturalness of a product or of the production process, or the nutritional quality of the product. The presence of flavouring in food should, therefore, always be indicated by appropriate labelling.
Flavourings are subject to the general labelling obligations provided for in Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers and, as the case may be, are subject to the requirements of Regulations (EC) No 1829/2003 and Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms and the traceability of food products produced from genetically modified organisms.
Flavourings not intended for sale to the final consumer i.e. business to business sales may only be marketed with the labelling provided for Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008, which must be easily visible, clearly legible and indelible.
Where flavourings not intended for sale to the final consumer are sold singly or mixed with each other and/or with other food ingredients and/or with other substances added to them in accordance with Article 3(4)of Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008, their packaging or containers must bear the following information:
(a) the sales description: either the word ‘flavouring’ or a more specific name or description of the flavouring;
(b) the statement either ‘for food’ or the statement ‘restricted use in food’ or a more specific reference to its intended food use;
(c) if necessary, the special conditions for storage and/or use;
(d) a mark identifying the batch or lot;
(e) in descending order of weight, a list of:
(i) the categories of flavourings present and
(ii) the names of each of the other substances or materials in the product or, where appropriate, their E-number;
(f) the name or business name and address of the manufacturer, packager or seller;
(g) an indication of the maximum quantity of each component or group of components subject to quantitative limitation in food and/or appropriate information in clear and easily understandable terms enabling the purchaser to comply with Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 or other relevant EU law;
(h) the net quantity;
(i) a date of minimum durability or use-by-date;
(j) where relevant, information on a flavouring or other substances is listed in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 (allergens) it must be indicated sent in foodstuffs.
The information required in points (e) and (g) may appear merely on the documents relating to the consignment which are to be supplied with or prior to the delivery, provided that the indication ‘not for retail sale’ appears on an easily visible part of the packaging or container of the product in question.
In addition where flavourings are supplied in tankers, all of the information above may appear merely on the accompanying documents relating to the consignment which are to be supplied with the delivery.
Flavourings sold singly or mixed with each other and/or with other food ingredients and/or to which other substances are added and which are intended for sale to the final consumer may be marketed only if their packaging contains the statement either ‘for food’ or ‘restricted use in food’ or a more specific reference to their intended food use, which must be easily visible, clearly legible and indelible.
Flavouring substances or flavouring preparations should only be labelled as ‘natural’ if they comply with certain criteria which ensure that consumers are not misled. Specific information requirements set out in Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 ensure that consumers are not misled concerning the source material used for the production of natural flavourings. If the term ‘natural’ is used to describe a flavouring in the sales description then the following conditions apply:
- The term ‘natural’ for the description of a flavouring may only be used if the flavouring component comprises only flavouring preparations and/or natural flavouring substances.
- The term ‘natural flavouring substance(s)’ may only be used for flavourings in which the flavouring component contains exclusively natural flavouring substances.
- The term ‘natural’ may only be used in combination with a reference to a food, food category or a vegetable or animal flavouring source if the flavouring component has been obtained exclusively or by at least 95 % by w/w from the source material referred to. The description must read ‘natural “food(s) or food category or source(s)” flavouring’.
- The term ‘natural “food(s) or food category or source(s)” flavouring with other natural flavourings’ may only be used if the flavouring component is partially derived from the source material referred to, the flavour of which can easily be recognised.
- The term ‘natural flavouring’ may only be used if the flavouring component is derived from different source materials and where a reference to the source materials would not reflect their flavour or taste.
Foods lawfully placed on the market or labelled prior to 20th January 2011 which do not comply with Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 but which comply with the previous legislation (ie Directive 88/388/EEC) may be marketed until their date of minimum durability or use-by-date.
Last reviewed: 20/8/2015