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Product Labelling

A summary of the EU product labelling rules for goods sold within the Single Market.

The purpose of product labelling is to provide complete information on the content and composition of products in order to protect the consumer’s health and interest. In turn the incentive for manufacturers is that a well labelled product significantly decreases liability. Therefore it is in the best interests of both the consumers AND manufacturer that all product labelling is kept up to date with the requisite legal standard.

National or EU rules?
This part can be tricky as there are laws at both the UK and European level. Generally speaking adhering to EU standards should be sufficient to be able to trade anywhere within the European Single Market. However there are instances where the EU law doesn’t cover certain products or leaves discretion to the Member States, if this is the case it would then be an issue for national law.

Exporting Goods
If you are exporting your goods, you should ensure that your packaging and labelling suits the market you intend to sell your product. You should address the following issues:

  • Ensuring your packaging and labelling complies with the regulations of the country you are exporting to
  • Translating your labelling into the local language or to mark the origin of your goods
  • Research local customs to make your goods acceptable to customers, for example; in some countries food products carry a picture of the produce inside
  • Ensure your product can withstand the shipping process and is suitable for various modes of transport

Product Description
In the UK under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, any descriptions of the goods must be accurate. Although these are national rules, they set a good example for exporting products into the EU as well.

Specifically you must not be misleading as to-

  • Quantity or size
  • Composition
  • Method of manufacture
  • Place and date of manufacture
  • Fitness for stated purpose
  • Endorsements by people or organisations

What Products Need Labelling?
Almost all products sold within the EU will require some form of labeling, but what details are required depends on the nature of the product. Here are a few examples of the topics covered by EU legislation:

EU Food Product Labeling;

EU Non-Food Product Labeling;

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