Food Labelling: Underutilised opportunities to improve public health


Member of AgroFood industry Hi Tech Scientific Advisory Board
Nutrition Institute, Tržaska cesta 40, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

In the last few years food labelling legislation has been revised drastically in the European Union (EU) and we are quickly approaching December 2014 when most articles of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIR) (1) will start to apply. At a time when the food industry is dealing with labelling challenges and chasing regulation deadlines, I welcome the opportunity to discuss the importance of the existing food labelling regulations from a public health perspective.

General food labelling

Key changes in the area of general food labelling include highlighting allergens on the list of ingredients of pre-packed foods, and extending the mandatory labelling of allergens to foods that are not pre-packed; ensuring better legibility; and the mandatory labelling of the origin of some unprocessed meats. The compulsory labelling of a nutrition declaration on all processed pre-packed foods will also be introduced in December 2016.

Nutrition labelling of pre-packed foods is a cost-effective population-level intervention with unparalleled reach (2), enabling consumers to be informed about the composition of foo ...