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FOOD LABELLING - EU FOOD INFORMATION REGULATION
ORIGIN LABELLING FOR PRIMARY FOOD INGREDIENTS
New rules for food labelling EU FIR| European Union Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775
The new implementing regulation (EU) 2018/775 on the labelling of primary ingredients of other origins has been in force in Europe since 01.04.2020. The regulation thus contains details on the application of Art. 23 para. 3 EU FIR (Food Information Regulation; Regulation (EU) 1169/2011).
The EU FIR regulates the labelling of food with consumer information in the member states of the EU. Mandatory information on food includes allergens, nutritional values, place of origin or country of origin. Manufacturers and online retailers are affected by the new labelling regulation.
Indications of origin of primary ingredients in food - legal background
The indication of the origin of the primary ingredient is regulated in Art. 26 EU FIR. According to the EU FIR, the indication of the country of origin is obligatory under Art. 26 para. 2 in the following cases:
(a) where failure to indicate this might mislead the consumer as to the true country of origin or place of provenance of the food, in particular if the information accompanying the food or the label as a whole would otherwise imply that the food has a different country of origin or place of provenance;
(b) for meat falling within the Combined Nomenclature (‘CN’) codes listed in Annex XI. The application of this point shall be subject to the adoption of implementing acts referred to in paragraph 8.
The information obligations in the case of indication of the country of origin of the food, but this differs from that of the primary ingredient, are laid down in Art. 26 Art. 3 EU FIR. The implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775 regulates the application of this provision. The following information must be provided since 01.04.2020:
(3) Where the country of origin or the place of provenance of a food is given and where it is not the same as that of its primary ingredient:
1. (a) the country of origin or place of provenance of the primary ingredient in question shall also be given;
2. (b) the country of origin or place of provenance of the primary ingredient shall be indicated as being different to that of the food.
In short, if the country of origin or place of provenance is indicated for a food, but the primary ingredient does not originate from that country or place, the country of origin or place of provenance for the primary ingredient must be labelled separately.
The Implementing Regulation applies to all food supplements as well as to pre-packaged foodstuffs which are labelled on the packaging with the country of origin or place of provenance, whether mandatory or voluntary.
If the packaging is labelled with the origin of an ingredient, such as ‚tomato sauce made from Italian tomatoes‘ or ‚yoghurt with German strawberries‘, there is no obligation to indicate the origin of the primary ingredient. Whereas, the Regulation does apply to designations such as „Italian tomato sauce“ or „German strawberry yoghurt“.
Which indications are regarded as indications of source for foodstuffs?
To be considered as an indication of the country of origin
Pictograms, like national flags
What is the primary ingredient?
The term primary ingredient is defined in Article 2(2)(q) EU FIR.
The primary ingredient is that ingredient or those ingredients of a foodstuff which constitute more than 50% of the foodstuff or which consumers usually associate with the name of the foodstuff and for which a quantitative indication is required in most cases.
Does a food have more than one primary ingredient?
In principle, several ingredients can also be primary ingredients of a food. In the case of a fruit yoghurt, for example, both the yoghurt and the fruit ingredient are considered to be primary ingredients of the product.
Health Star Rating
How is the different origin marked?
Art. 2 of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775 regulates how the different country of origin of the primary ingredient must be labelled. The different country of origin must be indicated
(a) with reference to one of the following geographical areas:
‘EU’, ‘non-EU’ or ‘EU and non-EU’; or
Region, or any other geographical area either within several Member States or within third countries, if defined
as such under public international law or well understood by normally informed average consumers; or
FAO Fishing area, or sea or freshwater body if defined as such under international law or well understood by
normally informed average consumers; or
Member State(s) or third country(ies); or
Region, or any other geographical area within a Member State or within a third country, which is well
understood by normally informed average consumers; or
The country of origin or place of provenance in accordance with specific Union provisions applicable for the primary ingredient(s) as such;