European Food Information to Consumers Regulation No 1169/2011 (FIC)

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers brings together EU rules on general food labelling and nutrition labelling into one piece of legislation.

The majority of the requirements of the legislation applied to pre-packed foods from 13 December 2014 with mandatory nutrition declarations for most pre-packed foods applying from 13 December 2016. New rules on country of origin information for meat from sheep, pigs, goats and poultry applied from 1 April 2015.

Key new requirements

  • For pre-packed foods, allergen information must be emphasised in the ingredients list. 
  • For non-prepacked foods (including catering), allergen information must be made available to consumers. 
  • Nutrition labelling will be required for most pre-packed foods and this must be presented in a consistent format.
  • A minimum font size for the mandatory information on food labels eg. name of the food, ingredients lists, date marks etc.  This also extends to voluntary front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition information.
  • Country of origin information will be required for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of sheep, pigs, goats and poultry.  Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1337/2013 lays down the rules for this requirement and will apply from 1 April 2015.  Meat already packaged may be sold after this date until stocks are exhausted.
  • Date of freezing (or first freezing where products have been frozen more than once) will be required for frozen meat, frozen meat preparations and frozen unprocessed fishery products sold as such to consumers.
  • Compositional standards for minced meat. Where minced meat exceeds the fat and/or collagen:meat  protein ratios in the regulation, it may be sold on the UK market using a national mark along with information about its composition.
  • Drinks with high caffeine content will have to be additionally labelled as not recommended for children or pregnant and breastfeeding women, with the actual caffeine content quoted.
  • Added water over 5% must be declared in the name of the food for meat products and meat preparations which have the appearance of a cut, joint, slice, portion or carcass of meat.  The same will apply to fishery products which have the appearance of a cut, joint, slice, portion, fillet or whole fishery product.

The Regulation can be found via the 'External sites' link on this page.

The FSA has produced summary guidance (available below) to provide informal, non-binding advice on the legal requirements of the EU FIC and on Food Information Regulations 2014 for food business operators and enforcement officers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Please note this document is a living document which will be updated as necessary.

Allergen information requirements

Guidance and materials are available to assist enforcement officers and food businesses in implementing and complying with the new allergen rules. These publications aim to generate awareness and improve understanding of the new allergen rules, including advice on safer allergen management practices. The publications are available for download via the link below.

Guidance on nutrition information requirements

Nutrition Labelling

Having a nutrition declaration on prepacked foods becomes mandatory from 13 December 2016.

There are certain foods exempted from the requirement to display nutrition information. Details are provided in Annex 5 to ​EU FIC.

Foods which provide nutrition information on a voluntary basis or which make nutrition or health claim on the label, have been required to provide nutrition information in the prescribed format set out in FIC since 13 December 2014.

Mandatory Information

When providing nutrition information FIC requires that the declaration consists of:

(a) The energy value and
(b) The amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt

The content of the mandatory nutrition declaration may be supplemented with an indication of the amounts of one or more of the following:

(a) Monounsaturates
(b) Polyunsaturates
(c) Polyols
(d) Starch
(e) Fibre
(f) Any of the vitamins or minerals listed in point 1 of Part A of Annex XIII to EU FIC, and present in significant amounts as defined in point 2 of Part A of Annex XIII to FIC

Repeating Nutrition Information on the Front of Pack

Where the mandatory nutrition information is declared on the label, certain nutrients may be repeated in the ‘principal field of vision’, i.e. the front of pack. This repeated information is a voluntary measure but where a food business chooses to provide this additional declaration, only the following information can be provided:

  • Energy only or
  • Energy along with fat, saturates, sugar and salt

This repeated information may be provided:

  • Per 100g/ml only
  • Per 100g/ml and per portion or
  • On a per portion basis only

When providing this ‘Front of Pack’ information Energy must always be indicated per 100g/ml as a minimum.

Presentation of Nutrition Information

Nutrition information must be presented in tabular format with the numbers aligned. Where space does not permit, the declaration may appear in linear format. The energy value must be expressed in Kilo Joules (kJ) and Kilo Calories (kcal) and the amount of the nutrients must be expressed in grams (g).

All elements of the nutrition declaration must be included in the same field of vision. They must be presented together in a clear format and, where appropriate, in the order of presentation provided for in Annex XV to EU FIC.

The nutrition declaration must be expressed per 100 g/ml, using the measurement units specified in Annex XV to EU FIC. When provided, the declaration on vitamins and minerals must in addition to this form of expression, be expressed as a percentage of the reference intakes set out in point 1 of Part A of Annex XIII to EU FIC in relation to per 100 g or per 100 ml.

Calculation of Nutrient Values

The legislation allows for various methods of calculating the nutrient values. It does not necessarily require laboratory analysis and it may be possible for a food business operator to calculate the values themselves depending on the type of product.

The declared values in the nutrition table are average values* and must be based on:

  • the manufacturer's analysis of the food
  • a calculation from the known or actual average values of the ingredients used; or
  • a calculation from generally established and accepted data

*The nutrient values are average values to take into account the natural variation in foodstuffs due to, for example, seasonality or supplier differences. However, there is EU guidance on the permitted tolerances for nutrient values which should be consulted.

The nutrient values must be for the food as sold. However, where appropriate the information may relate to the food after preparation, provided that sufficiently detailed preparation instructions are given and the information relates to the food as prepared for consumption.

Conversion factors for the calculation of the energy value are given in Annex XIV of EU FIC

Further Information

European Commission guidance on fibre analysis

It has been prepared to provide guidance to member states' enforcement authorities and food business operators on the methods of analysis for determination of the fibre content declared on a label with respect to the nutrition labelling or declaration. Further information is available under 'External sites'.

UK responsibilities for the FIR

The responsibility for the Food Information for Consumers Regulations (FIR) varies across the UK. Following the Westminster machinery of government changes carried out in 2010, general food labelling policy responsibilities (where this is not related to food safety) in England have been transferred from the FSA to Defra. Responsibility for nutrition labelling policy has been transferred to the Department of Health.

England
For food labelling enquiries, please phone Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 or email defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk
For nutrition labelling enquiries, please contact the Department of Health online.
Labelling - enforcement
Liaison with local authorities and other government departments on enforcement issues. Please contact your regional team for advice in the first instance or use Knowledge Hub. To find contact details, check our local authority postcode search facility.

Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, the FSA has retained responsibility for all aspects of general food labelling and nutrition labelling policy, including liaison with food authorities. Northern Ireland contact details:
tel: 028 9041 7700
email: infofsani@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Wales
In Wales, the FSA continues to lead on general food labelling policy and food labelling law enforcement, although responsibility for nutrition labelling policy is now with the Welsh Government.
Contact details:
tel: 029 2067 8999
email: food.policy.wales@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Food Standards Scotland
Food Standards Scotland has policy responsibility on food information, food labelling, food standards and nutrition labelling in Scotland.
Food Standards Scotland: Labelling