Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Labelling - Archive Page

CAUTION: This is an archive page and is retained for historic interest only. Information contained here should not be used for developing labels. Links may not be correct. For information on the current requirements, see: Food Labelling

On this page:
  • EU Law - Description of the legislation controlling food labelling in the EU with links to EU documents
  • Development of New EU Controls - Information and links relating to the new labelling controls
  • 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 have been 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 have also been adopted. This situation is complex but can be summarised in the following diagram:

The following links are to the current versions of the EU directives on the EU web site (but see also links to the consolidated texts given below):

With the following related legislation:

As amended by:

As amended by:

Note that this is a codified version and replaced, with no alterations, the following Directives:

Commission Directive 94/54/EC concerning the compulsory indication on the labelling of certain foodstuffs of particulars other than those provided for in Directive 79/112 [Requirements relating to packaging gas] (Note that link is to incomplete version of the text) As amended by:

As amended by:

Consolidated Texts: As the legislation is amended, the Commission sometimes publishes consolidated versions of the original texts. The following links provide consolidated versions of the above texts:

Guidelines: Directive 2000/13 incorporates the requirement (originaly introduced by Directive 97/4/EC) to declare the percentage of certain key ingredients (known as 'Quantitative Ingredient Declaration' or 'QUID'). To assist in the interpretation of this directive, the Commission published guidelines. These can be found at:

Genetically Modified Foods: Labelling controls on GM foods have been progressively introduced. For current controls, see:


In January 2008, the Commission published proposals for updating the labelling legislation:

The proposed Regulation would replace and repeal the following: Directives 2000/13/EC, 87/250/EC, 94/54/EC, 1999/10/EC, 2002/67/EC, 2004/77/EC and Regulation (EC) No 608/2004.

This figure shows the EU procedure for adopting legislation. The coloured items refer to stages which have been reached.

Click here for full size version (pdf file)

Key links to relevant news items will be given here as the legislative process progresses:

The following documents are also available on this site:

UK Law

The Legal Documents

For the United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland), the Directive 2000/13 (and the earlier directives) have been implemented into UK legislation by the following Regulations adopted in 1996. [Note that for Scotland and Wales, separate amendments have been made since 2000 but these are not listed here]


Separate, but identical, legislation applies to Northern Ireland:

Guidance Documents

To help compliance with the legal requirements and to provide general advice, the Food Standards Agency (and before it the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF)) publishes guidance documents. These are available on the FSA web pages (see FSA Labelling Guidance). The following are the main documents:

This page was first provided on 30 October 2001
To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.