EU Court of Justice 'complicates' multipack food labelling, says lawyer

By Louis Gore-Langton

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags: European union

An EU Court ruling, which states nutrition information on multipack products must also appear on each individual item, contradicts EU law, a food law expert has said.

Currently, separate items sold in multipacks must contain labels stating ‘Not for resale’ or ‘May not be sold separately’ indicating to retailers, wholesalers and consumers that the item is part of a bulk package and requisite information will be indicated on that package alone.

However, following proceedings between German honey company Breitsamer and the Federal State Capital of Bavaria, which ruled that honey sold in multi-packs, would have to state the country of origin on each separate portion, EU-wide legislation now stipulates that all items in multipacks must be labelled with all mandatory information on ingredients and nutrition.

This ruling​ ​will greatly complicate existing rules for manufacturers, particularly in the mass catering industry.

Contradictions and complications

Sebastian Romero Melchor, a partner at Food Compliance International law firm, said that the ruling contradicted EU Commission guidelines and could greatly complicate matters for manufacturers.

The previous Commission guideline stated: “Considering the different forms of delivering food to the ultimate consumer in catering establishments, it should be noted that portion-cups (e.g. jams, honey, mustard) which are presented as part of a meal to the guests of mass caterers should not be considered as units of sale. Therefore, it would be sufficient that, in such cases, the food information appear on multipacks.”

Melchor said this should be sufficient but that the court opted not to analyse the scenario in which ‘Not for resale’ appeared on individual packets.

He added it is essential to ensure that the mandatory information is easily accessible and available.

Moreover, information should not be easily removable, as with single strip bindings.

Related topics: Policy

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