By Jacqueline Hageman
In 2021, more than ever before, product labels need to be examined. Nutritional labelling has, of course, become more transparent and unambiguous, but reality still shows us a different picture. While the ingredients declaration accurately depicts which ingredients are present in the product, the consumer often wants to know which ingredients aren’t in the product. For example, is the product gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, or even E-numbers free? Will deception ever really be eradicated, or will the manufacturer’s will to differentiate itself from other products continue to win? We also see a proliferation of logos and quality marks on packaging. Doesn’t this pose a threat to the transparency of the information provided?
Moreover, we are still waiting for the further elaboration of numerous subjects that are still undecided in the regulation. Some of these have already been discussed, for example, origin labelling, the origin of meat other than beef, and unsaturated fats. There are much more about which no decisions have been made over the past ten years. A selection of these topics: information about cross-contamination, claims about the suitability of a food for vegetarians or vegans, forms of information other than words and numbers, uniform portion sizes and a definition of the term ‘natural’.
In May 2020, the European Commission presented the farm-to-table strategy as part of the European ‘Green Deal’, a roadmap for making the EU economy more sustainable. One line of action is the development of a label that helps consumers to eat healthily and sustainably. To establish this, the European Commission is proposing mandatory information on packaging and a sustainability labelling framework, which focuses on nutritional value, climate, environmental, and social impacts. In addition to the outstanding topics, numerous new subjects also need to be concluded. The purpose is to provide even better food information, adjusted to the current times. Reality has taught us that this is a long-term issue, but it will almost certainly lead to changes or additions to Regulation (EU) 1169/2011.
 Verordening (EU) nr. 1169/2011, VERORDENING (EU) Nr. 1169/2011 VAN HET EUROPEES PARLEMENT EN DE RAAD van 25 oktober 2011 betreffende de verstrekking van voedselinformatie aan consumenten, tot wijziging van Verordeningen (EG) nr. 1924/2006 en (EG) nr. 1925/2006 van het Europees Parlement en de Raad en tot intrekking van Richtlijn 87/250/EEG van de Commissie, Richtlijn 90/496/EEG van de Raad, Richtlijn 1999/10/EG van de Commissie, Richtlijn 2000/13/EG van het Europees Parlement en de Raad, Richtlijnen 2002/67/EG en 2008/5/EG van de Commissie, en Verordening (EG) nr. 608/2004 van de Commissie