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EU Law Changes to Nutrition Labelling


  1. Summary
  2. Exempted Food and Drinks
  3. Nutrients
  4. Reference Intakes
  5. Nutrient Reference Values
  6. Closing Thoughts


The EU laws regulating the information on the back of foodstuffs is changing. This is because of EU Regulation No. 1169/2011.

How does this affect you?

Effective Dates

The provision of nutrition information is currently voluntary (unless a claim is made). From 13 December 2016, this will be mandatory for most pre-packed foods. This includes products sold through distance selling.

If you are currently, optionally providing nutritional information to customers, you should already be conforming to the new format from 13 December 2014.

Exempted Food and Drinks

Except where other EU provisions apply, the following list of foods are exempt from mandatory nutrition information display:

  1. Unprocessed products that comprise a single ingredient or category of ingredients;
  2. Processed products which the only processing they have been subjected to is maturing and that comprise a single ingredient or category of ingredients;
  3. Waters intended for human consumption, including those where the only added ingredients are carbon dioxide and/or flavourings;
  4. A herb, a spice or mixtures thereof;
  5. Salt and salt substitutes;
  6. Table top sweeteners;
  7. Products covered by Directive 1999/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 February 1999 relating to coffee extracts and chicory extracts ( 1 ), whole or milled coffee beans and whole or milled decaffeinated coffee beans;
  8. Herbal and fruit infusions, tea, decaffeinated tea, instant or soluble tea or tea extract, decaffeinated instant or soluble tea or tea extract, which do not contain other added ingredients than flavourings which do not modify the nutritional value of the tea;
  9. Fermented vinegars and substitutes for vinegar, including those where the only added ingredients are flavourings;
  10. Flavourings;
  11. Food additives;
  12. Processing aids;
  13. Food enzymes;
  14. Gelatine;
  15. Jam setting compounds;
  16. Yeast;
  17. Chewing-gums;
  18. Food in packaging or containers the largest surface of which has an area of less than 25 cm2;
  19. Food, including handcrafted food, directly supplied by the manufacturer of small quantities of products to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer.

EU Regulation No. 1169/2011, Annex V


Nutritional information will need to be shown per 100g or 100ml.

The minimum font-size used in the nutritional information is 1.2mm x-height

Information is displayed in a table with the numbers aligned, though a linear format is permitted if insufficient space.

Where nutrients are not present or in negligible amounts, they may be mentioned in a separate sentence. See below for an example of this.

Mandatory Nutrients

The nutrients which much be included (except when the food or drink is exempt, see above) in the nutritional information are:

  • Energy in kilokoules (kJ) / and kilocalories (kcal)
  • Fat
    • of which saturates
  • Carbohydrate
    • of which sugars
  • Protein
  • Salt

Food and Drink Federation, Mandatory Back of Pack Nutrition Labelling

Optional Nutrients

The mandatory information can be supplemented with the following optional nutrients: mono-unsaturates, polyunsaturates, polyols, starch and fibre, provided they follow the order below.

Some vitamins and minerals may also be shown, providing they exist in a sufficient quantitiy. See the Vitamins section below for more information.


When nutritional information is shown, it must be displayed in this order:

  • energy
  • fat
    • of which saturates,
    • of which mono-unsaturates,
    • of which polyunsaturates,
  • carbohydrate
    • of which sugars,
    • of which polyols,
    • of which starch,
  • fibre
  • protein
  • salt
  • vitamins and minerals

EU Regulation No. 1169/2011, Annex XV


The units of measurement to be used in the nutrition declaration for energy (kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcal)) and mass (grams (g), milligrams (mg) or micrograms (μg))

Nutrition Information Examples

Reference Intakes (RIs)
Formerly Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs)

Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) are being replaced by Reference Intakes (RIs).

Reference Intakes %RIs can be shown in the nutrition table per 100g/100ml and/or per portion/consumption unit.

In addition, where %RIs are given the following statement is required in close proximity to it:

Reference intake of an average adult (8400kJ/2000kcal)EU Regulation No. 1169/2011, Article 32.5

The values of the reference intake is as follows:

Nutritional information may be additionally displayed as a percentage of the reference intakes per 100g or 100ml, providing

Energy or nutrient Reference intake
Energy 8 400 kJ/2 000 kcal
Total Fat 70 g
Saturates 260 g
Carbohydrate 260 g
Sugars 90 g
Protein 50 g
Salt 6 g

EU Regulation No. 1169/2011, Annex XIII, Part B

Portion Indicator

If information is provided per portion or consumption unit, this must be quantified in close proximity to nutrition declaration. For example:

1.5L = 6 x 250ml servings.Food and Drink Federation, Mandatory Back of Pack Nutrition Labelling

Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs)Formerly Recommended Daily Amounts (RDAs)

Recommended Daily Amounts (RDAs) are being replaced by Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs).

Vitamins must be declared per 100ml and the %NRV per 100ml provided.

You can also provide the information per portion.


Vitamins and minerals may only be shown where they exist in a significant amount.

If the product is a beverage, at least 7.5% of the vitamin’s NRV must be present in 100 ml.

If the product is not a beverage, at least 15% of the vitamin’s NRV must be present in 100 g or 100 ml.

If the product contains only one portion, at least 15% of the vitamin’s NRV must be present in a single portion.

Vitamin A (μg) 800
Vitamin D (μg) 5
Vitamin E (mg) 12
Vitamin K (μg) 75
Vitamin C (mg) 80
Thiamin (mg) 1,1
Riboflavin (mg) 1,4
Niacin (mg) 16
Vitamin B6 (mg) 1,4
Folic acid (μg) 200
Vitamin B12 (μg) 2,5
Biotin (μg) 50
Pantothenic acid (mg) 6
Potassium (mg) 2 000
Chloride (mg) 800
Calcium (mg) 800
Phosphorus (mg) 700
Magnesium (mg) 375
Iron (mg) 14
Zinc (mg) 10
Copper (mg) 1
Manganese (mg) 2
Fluoride (mg) 3,5
Selenium(μg) 55
Chromium (μg) 40
Molybdenum (μg) 50
Iodine (μg) 150

EU Regulation No. 1169/2011, Annex XIII, Part A, I

Vitamin Example

Closing thoughts

There is a lot of detail within the EU regulation changes, and this post only covers a few central points. If you are unsure or uncertain about the changes and how they affect you, seek professional advice.


All information supplied should be used as a guide, and is as correct at the date of posting. All content provided is taken from the sources below, and edited for clarity except where quoted.

The Price Gun Shop has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided on this website. However, the information is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind. The Price Gun Shop does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained on this website.


EU Regulation No. 1169/2011. Retrieved 14/10/2015 from

Food and Drink Federation, Mandatory Back of Pack Nutrition Labelling. Retrieved 14/10/2015 from

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