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The good and bad about EU Regulation 1169/2011 on food labelling


The new EU regulation 1169/2011 on food labelling brought improvements and guarantees for consumers, though among the many changes a few negative points remain.

The regulation does not make imports easier, in a way it actually complicates them. The chance for each country to introduce additional provisions to apply to their territory hinders the movement of goods in the domestic market and creates confusion among consumers: just think of the different nutritional patterns adopted in the various countries, which differ both in terms of graphic expression and calculation methods.

A lost opportunity is also the lack of obligation to indicate the production site on the label: this way industries and large retailers may outsource production and supplies abroad without informing consumers.

A particularly topical issue in view of 2015 Expo in Milan is the obligation for restaurants and commercial concerns to inform consumers about the presence of allergens in their products. Soon million of visitors from around the world will arrive in Italy and there will be the need to be able to specify which specific allergens each entry on the menu may contain. At the moment a generic sign with the list of allergens specified in the regulation is enough to comply with it, without taking into account hygiene practices and staff training to prevent the risk of contamination.

As for the improvements, it is worth noting the introduction of the obligation to specify the type of oil and fat used and a new article, Article 8, under which the importer is now responsible for making sure the information on the label is correct and accurate.