European Union Food Labels To Be Changed

The change may be implemented in connection with the next reprint of the packaging or in connection with the preparation of new artwork.

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As of Dec. 14, 2014, all food labels in the European Union must be designed in accordance with the new labelling rules in Regulation no. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, according to Bech-Bruun, Christian Vinding Thomsen and Tanja Buch-Weeke, attorneys at Bech-Bruun in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Among other things, this means food must not be produced in “old” packages after Dec. 13, 2014. Food in packages with “old” labels may, however, be on the market until the end of its durability date.

However, the new rules are changed before even taking effect, the lawyers noted.

The Ministry of Food has requested a corrigendum of Regulation 1169/2011, which means that the following rules of law in the Regulation are changed:

  • “Quickly frozen” will be changed to “deep frozen” (Annex VI, Part A, point 1 on accompanying information for the name of the food).
  • “Sequestrants” will be changed to “Stabiliser” such that it now says both Sequestrants and Stabiliser (Annex VII, part C on names of category for additives).
  • “Mindst holdbar til” will be changed to “bedst før” (Annex X on durability labelling, when the date of minimum durability states a specific date – e.g. Dec. 13, 2014).
  • “Mindst holdbar til og med” will be changed to “bedst før udgangen af” (Annex X on durability labelling when the date of minimum durability does not state a specific date – e.g. December 2014).
  • “Nutritional reference values” has been changed to “nutrient reference values” (NRV) (Annex XIII on reference intakes for vitamins and minerals).

The wording of the durability labelling has been changed as a consequence of a request from the current Minister for Food. “Bedst før” and “bedst før udgangen af” must now be used.

The changes in the corrigendum take effect immediately. However, this does not mean that all food-production undertakings have to change their labelling right away. The change may be implemented in connection with the next reprint of the packaging or in connection with the preparation of new artwork.

The Minister for Food has confirmed in writing to the industry that “best før” must be used on packages by Jan. 1, 2020 at the latest. Also note that if the labelling is in Swedish or Norwegian, the new rules on durability labelling are already complied with, as both the Swedish and Norwegian wordings are similar to the Danish way of spelling.

In Swedish, the statement of durability must be “Bäst före” and “Bäst före utgången av”.

And in Norwegian, the statement of durability must bebest før” and “best før utgangen av”

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