The Food Information to Consumers Regulation
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of 25 October 2011 (“FIC Regulation”) on the provision of food information to consumers amends and extends existing EU legislations on food labelling and the provision of nutrition information, and replaces them with a single regulation, which came into force on 13 December 2014.
Among others requirements, a minimum font size for all mandatory information has been introduced: mandatory particulars shall be printed in characters using a font size that is equal to or greater than 1.2 mm or 0.9 mm in the case of packaging or containers where the largest surface area is less than 80 cm².
The food industry was given less than two years to comply with the mandatory nutrition declaration, the so-called ‘Big 7’, which will be effective as of 13 December 2016. Producers will be obliged to display a table on food packaging including information on energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt, thereby imposing a major change to food labelling rules in the EU. But producers will still be able to choose where to put this table on their products, as there will be no mandatory front-of-pack labelling.
Are there specific rules for food products sold in the duty free and travel retail area?
An amendment to the draft legislation was sought for food supplies to the duty-free and travel retail sector – where ‘gifting’ is a primary motivation for purchasing – for the use of a limited number of languages across the EU for food products sold in travel retail and duty free. This proposal was ultimately rejected and any reference to language exemptions was removed from the FIC Regulation. Therefore, the travel retail and duty-free market currently operates according to the same EU and national regulatory policies as the domestic/high street market.
Products sold in the duty-free and travel retail channel have to comply with the entirety of the articles contained in the Regulation and with national implementing laws adopted by each Member State. It is up to each Member State to decide which languages it requires for the labelling of food and our members have already identified a number of serious issues arising from this regulation which have been reported to the EU Commission. We are working with our members and the EU Commission to find a pragmatic solution to this issue.
Food labelling is a prime example of the type of issue which the Espace Voyageur concept would address.