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Food companies have five years to comply with new, mandatory nutrition labeling rules in the EU, says regulatory consultant EAS.
Food companies have five years to comply with new, mandatory nutrition labeling rules in the EU, says regulatory consultant EAS. The final rule will be officially published on December 13, 2011, and companies will have until the end of the transition period, December 13, 2016, to ensure labels meet requirements for listing energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugar, protein, and salt. (These must be expressed per 100 g/100 ml, and, where appropriate, per portion, EAS says.)
“The costs of conforming to the mandatory nutrient content rules will most likely hit the smaller food companies more than the larger ones, as many of the larger companies already have some type of nutrition labeling which will simply need to be adapted,” stated Xavier Lavigne, EAS’s food law manager, in a press release.
Lavigne says that while most aspects of the regulation take effect on December 13, 2014, thanks to an extended transition period, companies have until December 13, 2016, to comply.
There are also new requirements for allergen labeling and label legibility.
“The regulation introduces a minimum font size of 1.2 mm for all mandatory label information, and 0.9 mm for products whose packaging has a largest surface of less than 80 cm2,” said Lavigne. “For manufacturers, it means that knowing how to use the space on certain packages will be key. Already some companies are looking into the creation of understandable symbols in order to gain space and to deal with multilingual challenges. Most companies in the food sector will be pressured into a detailed review of their product packaging in the months and years to come.”