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Do you sell or manufacture pre-packaged foods in the Netherlands? You must make sure these products have a label which includes information in Dutch about, amongst others:
- the product name
- name and adress of the manufacturer or responsible entrepreneur
- the ingredients, including added water, aroma's and e numbers
- the net quantity
- quantaties of ingredients in percentages
- nutritional value
- storage instructions and/or instructions for use (if necessary)
- a production code or batch code
- the minimum best-before date or latest consumption date (use by date)
The information must be easy to find and read. All the information must be available online as well. You may not provide any misleading information.
The Netherlands Food and Consumer Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, NVWA) has drafted a Dutch-language manual for the labelling of food. You may also ask your sector organisation or a specialised adviser for help. Labelling of foodstuffs is regulated by the European Union
Information on allergens
Some ingredients may contain allergens. For instance nuts, crustaceans or milk. You must state these on the label. If you sell non-prepacked foods, for example if you you operate a business in the food and catering sector, you must provide your customers with adequate information on all food allergens used in the products you sell. However, you are free to choose how to inform your customers.
A list of substances and products causing allergies or intolerances is provided in Annex II of the European Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers.
Organic food labelling
You are only allowed to label food as organic if you keep to all European and Dutch regulations, as well as the conditions Skal Biocontrole has set. You must for instance take the environment and animal welfare into account as much as is possible. You can have your company certified by Skal Biocontrole. Skal is the official certifying body appointed by the ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Once you are certified you may carry the EU organic logo.
Health and nutrition claims
You must comply with the European rules if you launch a foodstuff and make any claims regarding its nutritional value, benefit to health or medical advantages. The rules differ per claim and per product. You can also ask for information about claims from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, NVWA).
Best before and Use by dates and food waste
There are two ways in which food labelling indicates a date for either food quality or food safety:
- Best before informs about food quality, after this the food is still safe to eat and it is up to the consumer to decide whether it can be eaten.
- Use by informs consumers about the food safety of perishable products, these foods should not be consumed after this date.
In order to avoid food wastage, the European Commission urges governments to raise awareness and businesses and consumers to be mindful before throwing food away.