Guide

Consumer law in Europe

Product labelling and packaging in the EU

There are strict rules and regulations about how products are labelled and packaged. These set standards about the information printed on the packaging, and the materials that the packaging can be made out of.

The European Commission has general rules about labelling and packaging, as well as specific rules about:

  • product origin and production
  • genetically modified organisms
  • foodstuffs and nutrition
  • plastic, ceramics and cellulose packaging

Manufacturers must ensure that consumers have all possible information about a product. Detailed information must be provided about a product's composition. Labelling and packaging for any food product must give full details of:

  • the product's ingredients and quantities
  • storage conditions
  • a use-by date
  • details of any ingredients that may cause allergic reactions, including nuts and dairy

Sellers are also required to provide both selling price and unit price, so that potential buyers can easily compare products. The prices must be displayed clearly.

Different EU countries may have national laws on labelling and packaging which you should also be aware of. You can get help in any EU country using the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) - a group of business advice organisations across the EU.