Development of the text labeling for food products

Food sector is one of the most strictly regulated areas not only in Latvia, but also throughout the European Union, because it has the most direct impact on the consumer. According to the requirements of the regulatory acts, the food business operator is responsible for food safety and quality.

The inspectors of the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) are carrying out inspections of food enterprises on a daily basis. For each group of food business operators a minimum frequency of inspections per year is stated. FVO evaluates the risk factors and previous inspection results for each particular enterprise, as well as complaints of the consumers. Upon receiving consumer complaints, information from other institutions or in case of possible risks, extraordinary inspections are carried out. If the enterprises do not comply with regulatory requirements, FVO inspectors have the right to impose sanctions – warnings, fines, suspension of product distribution or removal from trading circulation, up to suspension of the operation of the enterprise. It is therefore very important to comply with the regulatory acts and the requirements stated therein for each food group not only at the production stage but also at the stage of labeling and design.

EU regulation from 13 December 2016

New EU regulation on the provision of food information to consumers entered into application on 13 December 2014 and should be fully ensured from 13 December 2016. It specified the general requirements for responsibility and the procedures for the provision of information to the final customers by food business operators. The general labeling requirements are complemented by a number of provisions, which are applicable to all food products in particular circumstances or to certain categories of food products. In addition, there are specific provisions, which are applicable to specific food products.

Mandatory information required for food products in accordance with the regulatory acts, primarily concerns the information contained in one of the following categories:

  • 1. Information on the identity and composition, properties or other characteristics of the food;
  • 2. Information on the protection of consumers’ health and the safe use of a food. In particular, it shall concern information on:
  • 2.1. compositional attributes that may be harmful to the health of certain groups of consumers;
  • 2.2. durability, storage and safe use;
  • 2.3. the health impact, including the risks and consequences related to harmful and hazardous consumption of a food;
  • 3. Information on nutritional characteristics so as to enable consumers, including those with special dietary requirements, to make informed choices.

 

Today the consumers are increasingly frequently paying attention to labeling. It is important for the consumer to use products of high quality. Food labeling should be clear and understandable in order to ensure proper labeling for all consumers who want to make their informed choices about food and nutrition. Studies show that easy legibility is an important factor that allows consumers to take into account all the information, but hardly legible information, mistakes, incorrect indication of products and their components (especially additive agents) are the main causes of consumer dissatisfaction with food products and their labeling. Therefore, the complaints often arise.

Qualitative food labeling is a proof that the food business operator ensures the necessary self-control and a qualitative food turnover in accordance with all the requirements of the regulations.

 

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