Spreadable Fats

EU Legislation

Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 347, p371, 20/12/2013) of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 922/72, (EEC) No 234/79, (EC) No 1037/2001 and (EC) No 1234/2007

Implementing measures

Commission Regulation (EC) No 445/2007 (OJ L106, p24, 24/04/2007) of 23 April 2007 laying down certain detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 2991/94 laying down standards for spreadable fats and of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1898/87 on the protection of designations used in the marketing of milk and milk products (Codified version)

National Legislation

There is no specific national legislation at present.

Requirements of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 for Spreadable Fats

Spreadable fats, including butter, margarine, dairy spreads and blended spreads, can consist of milk fat, either exclusively or in part, or vegetable and/or animal fat with no milk fat.

 Definitions, sales descriptions and compositional requirements for spreadable fats are set out in Appendix II to Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013

 This Regulation (Annex VII, Part VII) also sets out the terminology that can be used with spreadable fats as follows:

  1. The term "traditional" may be used together with the name "butter" provided where the product is obtained directly from milk or cream. For the purposes of this point, "cream" means the product obtained from milk in the form of an emulsion of the oil-in-water type with a milk-fat content of at least 10 %.
  2. Terms for products referred to in Appendix II which state, imply or suggest fat content other than those referred to in that Appendix are prohibited.
  3. By way of derogation from paragraph 2 and in addition, the term "reduced-fat" or "light" may be used for products referred to in Appendix II with a fat content of not more than 62 %. The term "reduced-fat" and the term "light" may, however, replace the terms "three-quarter-fat" or "half-fat" used in Appendix II.
  4. The sales descriptions "minarine" or "halvarine" may be used for products referred to in point 3 of Part B of Appendix II.
  5. The term "vegetable" may be used together with the sales descriptions in Part B of Appendix II, provided that the product contains only fat of vegetable origin with a tolerance of 2 % of the fat content for animal fats. This tolerance shall also apply where reference is made to a vegetable species.

Derogations for sales descriptions used for spreadable fats

Regulation (EC) No 445/2007, Article 3.1, specifies that the designation ‘butter’ may be used in reference to ‘composite products’ of which an essential part is butter. However, this is only permitted where the end product contains at least 75% milk fat and has been manufactured from butter and the other added ingredients mentioned in the description.
Article 3.2 stipulates that the term ‘butter preparation’ must be used in relation to the composite products spcified in Article 3.1 where the milk fat content is less than 75% but greater than 62%. Where it is used, the designation ‘butter preparation’ must be in legible format and placed in an easily visible and conspicuous place.
However, Article 3.3 allows for a derogation whereby the use of term ‘butter’ is permitted in reference (butter containing alcoholic beverages)’ with a minimum milk fat content of 34%.


Guidance on Use of the Term 'Butter' in Labelling and Advertising of Fat Spreads

The FSAI has produced a Guidance Note on use of the term 'butter' in the labelling and advertising of fat spreads




Last reviewed: 22/3/2017

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Food Labelling