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Food Labelling requirements for the EU market


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#1 Rudra

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 04:43 AM

Dear all,

We are developing new products for EU market. These products do not contain the following:

- palm oil

- flavor enhancer

- artificial flavors

We would like to make a claim on our packaging: No palm oil, No flavor enhancer, no artificial flavors. Is there any legislation required for these category of claim?

 

Moreover, we are adding dried chicken meal powder in the product being exported to EU. Is the any legislation regarding labelling of such type of product to EU?

thanks for your help,

Regards,

Shakti 

 



#2 pHruit

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 10:22 AM

Hi Shakti,

These are interesting questions at the moment!
The attached is an analysis of the "no palm oil" claim - it's from TheOilPalm.org, so is perhaps slightly biased (the site is run by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council), but it contains some interesting discussion in more detail than I can sensible type here. There certainly are still plenty of products making this claim.

 

The "no artificial flavours" claim is something I still see on various labels here, but I'm somewhat sceptical as to the actual legal basis for it. Under the current EU flavouring regulation, (EC) 1334/2008, there is no longer an "artificial flavours" category. Thus it could be argued to be the case that no product on sale in the EU contains an artificial flavour, and so any such claim would theoretically fall foul of Article 7(1)© of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011: Food information shall not be misleading, particularly: by suggesting that the food possesses special characteristics when in fact all similar foods possess such characteristics, in particular by specifically emphasising the presence or absence of certain ingredients and/or nutrients.

i.e. if no food on sale in the EU contains an artificial flavour, since the concept doesn't exist in current flavouring regulation, then all food meets the requirement of this claim and so it is misleading to use it because it suggests the food is special when it is not.

 

Alas it is not that cut and dry though, as one could also argue that there could be a legitimate consumer understanding in terms of an artificial flavouring implying that the flavour has been derived from synthesis in a laboratory or similar, rather than produced from naturally-occuring substances. To my mind this is tenuous, but some regulators seem to be turning a blind eye, if not outright endorsing it.

You could of course look at turning it around into a positive claim instead, as for example "made with natural flavours" would be legitimate, assuming the flavourings you are using meet the required definition in Regulation (EC) 1334/2008.

 

The flavour enhancer claim is going to require a bit more reading/information. For example, I couldn't make this claim about a carton of apple juice because flavour enhancers are not permitted in any pure fruit juices, and thus all fruit juices on sale in the EU will contain no flavour enhancers so the claim doesn't comply with Article 7(1)© of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011, as discussed above.

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#3 Rudra

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 10:03 AM

Thank you very much. will go through it.

Kind regards,

Shakti



#4 Rudra

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:24 AM

Hello,

I read the pdf doc and your comments. Thank you for so much details. Excellent
In short, labelling the products with "no palm" is just for marketing purpose. I mean it is allowed in the EU market because I am a bit confused regarding this claim. the document has too many pros and cons.

thanks,

Shakti



#5 Rudra

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:36 AM

Also, how can I label my finished product if all of the 3 criteria are met: clean label?

Many thanks,

Shakti 



#6 pHruit

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 01:27 PM

The palm oil question remains a bit controversial amongst some parties. Certainly there are members of the palm oil lobby who are unequivocally stating that the claim is not legal, and that regulators in all member states are failing to properly enforce labelling regulations - for example: http://gofbonline.co...now-in-germany/

For what it's worth, I disagree with some of their legal analysis in the above link, whereas the document I shared in my original post was a bit more thorough.

 

Nonetheless it is very much the case that the claim is quite widespread, and in use by some fairly large brands and retailers in multiple countries within the EU, so provided that your product doesn't contain any palm oil (including undeclared carryover from ingredients) then I would not currently expect you to have any problem using it. I can't unequivocally tell you that it is a permitted claim, though, as that is still subject to some debate.

 

The approach to clean label varies between brands, and consumer understanding of what "clean" means also differs. One could argue that simply providing the mandatory ingredients list communicates the relevant information, as for example it won't list artificial flavourings, or flavour enhancers, but some brands prefer to more strongly communicate with "no added flavourings" type wording on the label. If you're not familiar with designing labels for the EU market then there may be some benefit to taking a training course. Various bodies can provide these remotely or in-person, and there is a basic online one available from the UK's FSA (https://labellingtra...v.uk/index.html), or from e.g. Leatherhead that is likely to be more substantial: https://www.leatherh...february-march/

 

If time is too limited to allow this type of approach, you might want to get your draft labels reviewed by someone like Leatherhead (https://www.leatherheadfood.com/) or Intertek (https://www.intertek.com/food/testing/product-label-review/), as they'll be able to review in far more detail than can really be done via discussion over a forum, given that they'll be able to check layout, font sizing, ingredients vs. recipe etc for you.



#7 Rudra

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 10:37 AM

Thank you. will do some further research.

rgds,

Shakti






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