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Rules applicable labelling of food products.

Food labels are not only decorative, they must contain accurate information. If they are incorrect, besides the terrible consequences for consumers, especially for those who suffer from allergies or food intolerances, it must be considered by traders so that administrative liability for violating these rules can be applicable in the labelling and civil liability against the affected consumer.

Diversifying the range of goods and increase product processing have increased lately functions label. If at first the service tag to identify the products quick and easy, now it responds to specific needs of retailers to promote the product on the market. In addition, the rules specified by legislation requiring compliance with minimum requirements in the labelling information, presented in detail in the following.

The purpose of labelling is to give consumers the necessary,  sufficient information, verifiable and easily comparable, so as to allow them to choose a product which meets their requirements in terms of their financial needs and opportunities and to meet potential risks which may be exposed by the use of the product. Legislation applicable in the labelling of food products is comprised, on the one hand, general regulations, namely GO no. 21/1992 on consumer protection (“GO no. 21/1992”) and Law no. 296/2004 on Consumption Code (“Consumer Code”), and in particular regulations applicable to such products or foodstuffs, the main piece of legislation in this field is GD. 106/2002 on food labelling.

Under the provisions of the Consumer Code, the label material is defined as any written, printed, lithographed, engraved or illustrated, which contains elements of product identification that accompanies the product or its packaging is adhered to.

One of the main requirements that must meet the information on labels is that they be submitted in Romanian, regardless of production location, without excluding the presentation also in other languages. The labels must be visible, legible and printed in a way that does not allow deletion.

In addition, the information contained on the food label must not mislead consumers when purchasing products, in terms of:

– Characteristics of the food and especially the nature, identity, properties, composition, quantity, durability, origin or provenance of his, and methods of manufacture or production;

– Award of the food effects or properties they do not possess;

– The suggestion that the food has special characteristics when – in reality – all similar products have such features.

What should contain a food label

Based on GD no. 106/2002, food labels must necessarily include the following elements:

  1. The name under which the food is sold – it must match the nature, genus, species, type or properties assortment of food or raw materials used in the manufacturing process;
  2. The list of ingredients or substances (including additives) used in the manufacture or preparation of a food;
  3. The amount of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients expressed as a percentage;
  4. Net amount prepackaged foodstuffs (is done by units of volume in the liquid and the mass units for other products, using as appropriate the liter, centilitre, milliliter, kilogram or gram);
  5. Date of minimum durability or, where appropriate, the deadline for consumption. Datum lasting for minimal Long is the date until which the food products  retains its specific characteristics, in  proper storage conditions. Instructions for use are required if those products which can be consumed during and after packaging period subscribed on the packaging. These are foods that do not affect health, just as after that date may be wasting some of their qualities: taste, smell, colour. In this category can enter crackers or breadcrumbs, which ceases after overcoming period, bakery products etc. Consumer closing date is the date by which the products are microbiologically highly perishable and are likely that after a short time to pose an immediate danger to the health of consumers keep their specific characteristics, whether the conditions transport, handling, storing have been respected. The impact is labelling consisting of the following phrases: “use by date” or “end date”. They indicate that after the date on the package the product should not be consumed as it becomes hazardous to health. In this category are modified microbiological products in a short period of time, the manufacturer is obliged to withdraw them from the market and destroy them after the expiration date. The case of dairy, cheese, eggs and other perishable goods.
  6. Storage or use, when they need special indications;
  7. Name and headquarters of the manufacturer or packer or distributor;
  8. Place of origin or provenance of the food if its omission would be likely to cause confusion in consumers’ thinking about the true origin or provenance of the food;
  9. Instructions for use, when their absence may lead to a misuse of food.

Fines come from ANPC

Failure to comply with regulations on food labelling is fined from 1,000 lei to 10,000 lei, the competent authority for the control and verification of compliance with applicable legislation and effective punishment trade with the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC).

In some situations but can ANPC has constantly agencies and complementary measures, such as:

  • definitive stop marketing and withdraws from the human consumption of the products, in case of products that have expired date of minimum durability;
  • temporary stop marketing their products or using services, to remedy the deficiencies, if the products do not present identification and characterization elements (present as the label) or do not meet the characteristics prescribed or declared on the label;
  • temporary or permanent closure of establishments which sell food, and temporarily or permanently suspend the approval, agreement or authorization to exercise an activity.
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