Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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(Note: This page is copyright - © D.J.Jukes 2014 - but please see Copyright notice). Last updated: 30 September, 2016

Food Labelling

Providing access to EU and UK legislation on labelling

(compiled by Dr David Jukes)

To go to main Foodlaw-Reading index page, click here.


See also: Food Labeling in the UK: A Guide to the Regulations

Updated January 2014

On this page:
  • EU Law - Description of the legislation controlling food labelling in the EU with links to EU documents
  • UK Law - Links to the UK legislation and guidance notes implementing the EU law

EU Law


Agreed EU-wide controls on food labelling were introduced with Directive 79/112 in 1979. Additional controls were added and amendments introduced to produce a complex array of labelling requirements. In 2000, the original 1979 Directive and its amendments were consolidated into a single new Directive - Directive 2000/13/EC. Additional Directives relating to labelling continued to be adopted. This situation was complex - for details, see the Food Labelling Archive Page on this site.

In January 2008 the Commission published proposals for new controls under the new name: "provision of food information to consumers". After detailed consideration (see the Food Labelling Archive Page), Regulation 1169/2011 was adopted. This provides a new consolidated structure to the legislation and includes, for the first time, the controls on nutrition labelling. Many elements have remained the same but there have been some additional and amended requirements. Implementation is mostly from 13 December 2014 although compulsory nutrition labelling is only applicable from 13 December 2016.

Note: Although Regulation 1169/2011 has consolidated many aspects of food labelling, requirements relating to other aspects can still be found in other EU legal documents and these are not currently listed here. In particular there are separate controls on nutrition and health claims and on foods containing genetically modified ingredients. For details see separate pages on this site:

Additional information can be found on the European Commission's pages:

Access to the EU Legal Documents

The new labelling regulation (or more correctly now - 'food information' regulation) was adopted on 29 September 2011 and published in the Official Journal on 22 November 2011. It mostly applies from 13 December 2014 (see Article 55 of the Regulation) with the exception of the new mandatory nutrition labelling requirement which will be effective from 13 December 2016. There are a few additional transitional provisions - see Article 54 for details.


Consolidated Document

For a consolidated version of the original regulation but incorporating the amendments to the text, see:

Implementing Measures

Regulation 1169/2011 provides the Commission with authority to issue implementing regulations (following specified procedures). The following have been issued:

EU Guidance Documents

The Commission has published the following guidance document:

Also available is guidance provided by FoodDrink Europe/EuroCommerce:

UK Law

Note that currently the UK is in transition between the former EU Directive 2000/13 and the new EU Regulation 1169/2011. For details of the requirements under UK legislation implementing Directive 2000/13, see the Food Labelling Archive Page


Implementation of Regulation 1169/2011 is taking place separately for the four parts of the United Kingdom.




Northern Ireland

Guidance Documents

Guidance has been developed slowly but the following are available:

Front of Pack Nutrition Labelling

This is permitted under EU Regulation 1169/2011 where member states, under certain criteria, are authorised to recommend 'additonal forms of expression or presentation of the nutrition declaration' (see Article 35). The Deprtment of Health (in association with the devolved administrations) has recommneded a UK wide scheme:

This page was first provided on 30 October 2001

To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.