A checklist to help manufacturers adapt to new EU labelling rules has been published by the Food & Drink Federation (FDF).

The checklist focuses on the five key changes introduced by the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation, which came into force on 13 December. The federation flagged up new rules regarding the display of allergen information, minimum font size on packaging, mandatory nutrition information, the vegetable oil used in a product, and country of origin requirements for unprocessed pig, sheep, goat and poultry meat.

Companies contravening the new labelling rules are liable to incur hefty financial penalties.

The rules were designed to “put the consumer first” by providing clearer information in a way that was manageable for businesses, said EU Commissioner for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis.

FDF director of regulation, science and health Barbara Gallani said the new regulations would “allow consumers to check, compare and choose between similar products” more easily, and were the “biggest change to on-pack labelling for the modern food industry”.

 FDF checklist

The FDF’s top five changes to packaged food and drink labels to look out for under the new rules:

  1. Allergens will now be emphasised in the ingredients list. Statements such as ‘Contains: milk, nuts’ are no longer permitted on-pack, though precautionary labelling such as ‘May contain: milk, nuts’ will still be used.
  2. A minimum font size has been set for mandatory information to increase legibility.
  3. Nutrition information is now a mandatory requirement and will usually be provided on the ‘back of pack’. The nutrient content will always be shown per 100g. ‘Front of pack’ labelling remains voluntary and there are new requirements to increase consistency and aid usage.
  4. The specific types of vegetable oils that are contained within a food or drink will now appear in the ingredients list.
  5. From April 2015, labels will show the origin of unprocessed pig, sheep, goat and poultry meat on-pack following an extension of country of origin labelling.