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New Food & Drink Labels Being Introduced Throughout Europe
Throughout Europe the labels on food and drinks will be changing starting this week, these changes were all part of the EU Food Information to Consumers Regulation law that was passed in December 2011. The new rules will start to take effect on December 13, 2014 and new labels will start being used immediately. Food packaging in Europe is overseen by the European Food Information Council.
The new food and drink labels will have more information for consumers so they can make more informed buying decisions when grocery shopping. Labels will also now have a minimum font size, which will help to ensure that labels are legible for all consumers.
The way in which allergens are displayed in the ingredient list on labels will also be changing with the new regulations. The allergens will now have more of a focus on them within the ingredient list, and statements about any allergens will be not be permitted. Precautionary warnings are still allowed on the labels, but they will be general warnings stating that the product may contain a specific allergen.
New regulations will also now make the nutrition info a mandatory section that is on the back of the package, and any labeling on the front of a package is voluntary. All of a products nutritional information must be displayed on the label and the regulations state that the nutrients must be showed per 100g.
Another change that consumers will notice will be the addition of specific types of vegetable oils to the ingredient list. As of April 2015, manufacturers of food products will also have to include the country of origin for all unprocessed sheep, pig, goat, and poultry meats.
Some of the other additions to food and drink labels include the highlighting of any ingredients that were used as a substitute for an ingredient consumers normally expect, the date of freezing or first freezing of the product, added water if it exceeds 5% of the finished product weight, and any added proteins must be noted. When it comes to processed foods, any food product is made of combined meat products must be labeled as “formed meat” or “formed fish”.
These changes are all essential to ensure that consumers know exactly what they are putting in their bodies. The United States and other countries have also been making changes recently with the information that is mandatory for all food and beverage packaging, and more changes will be coming regarding labeling regulations in many countries.
Here is an infographic that illustrates all of the new European food labeling rules.