Manufacturers lie on food packaging

Food labeling: what should it say?

“Name of the food” - important product information is often hidden

Food often has imaginary names such as "Strawberry Dream". Only the term "milk mix drink made from skimmed milk with strawberry flavor" gives you clarity as to which type of food it is specifically.
For some foods, the designation is stipulated by law, such as fruit juice, honey or milk. If this regulation is missing for a product, the manufacturer can use the usual designation or choose a description such as "Pasta in tomato sauce with 2% broccoli and 1% cheese".

However, this product information, which is important for you as a consumer, can often be found on the back of the packaging. From the point of view of consumer advice centers, the essential characteristics of the product should be clearly and distinctly on the front of the packaging stand, so is the name of the food.

What does the list of ingredients reveal?

The list of ingredients informs you about the composition of the food. This is how you can tell if the product contains ingredients that you want to avoid: At With a few exceptions, packaged foods must contain the ingredients, including additives and flavors. The ingredients must in descending order of their weight percentage to be named.

In the case of ingredients that themselves consist of different ingredients, such as salami on the pizza, all individual components must be specified. Either these are integrated in the list of all ingredients according to the quantitative order, or the compound food is named and the individual ingredients are listed after that in brackets.

In the case of compound ingredients that make up less than two percent and the composition of which is legally defined, an exact breakdown is not necessary. In the list of ingredients, for example, the words "chocolate" or "jam" are sufficient. Even with spice and herb mixtures that are less than two percent of the total amount, the individual components do not have to be named, with the exception of allergens such as celery.

Additives must be named with their class name, such as color or preservative, as well as with the E number or their special designation. The information can be, for example, "Thickener E 412" or "Thickener guar gum".

The list of ingredients is not required for single-ingredient foods such as milk.

Must be in the ingredients list no information on additives and enzymes that are made in the End product no technological effect have more. This also applies to technical auxiliaries that have been removed from the product. The manufacturer only has to name this substance (the allergen) if a substance has been used that has to be labeled as an allergen

Allergens need to be highlighted

For allergy sufferers and people with food intolerances, it is important to choose foods that are safe for them. The 14 main allergens must be highlighted in the list of ingredients, for example highlighted in color or printed in bold.
If no list of ingredients is stipulated, the allergen must be referred to with the word "contains". Separate labeling - in this case milk - is not required for foods whose designation gives the allergen, for example milk.

The allergens to be labeled according to the Food Information Ordinance (Appendix II) are:

  • Grains containing gluten and products made from them *
  • Crustaceans and products made from them
  • Eggs and products made from them
  • Fish and products made from it
  • Peanuts and products made therefrom
  • Soybeans and products made therefrom
  • Milk and products made from it (including lactose)
  • Nuts (nuts) **
  • Celery and products made from it
  • Mustard and products made from it
  • Sesame seeds and products made from them
  • Sulfur dioxide and sulphites in concentrations of more than 10 mg / kg or 10 mg / l, expressed in SO2
  • Lupins and products made from them
  • Molluscs and products made from them

* with mention of the ingredient wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelled, kamut or hybrid strains
** with the name of the ingredient almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios, macadamia or Queensland nuts

Which nutritional values ​​must be given?

On food packaging, the calorie content and amount of the following six nutrients must be based on 100 grams or 100 milliliters, are given:

  • fat
  • saturated fat
  • carbohydrates
  • sugar
  • protein
  • salt
Best before date or use-by date: what does the best-before date mean?

The best before date (BBD) indicates the point in time up to which the manufacturer guarantees that the food in the unopened package will retain its specific properties such as smell, taste and nutrients if stored correctly.

After the wording: "Best before" or "Best before end", either the date itself or the reference to where it can be found on the packaging must appear.

For some foods, the shelf life depends on certain conditions, such as the storage temperature. This must then be stated on the label: Example milk "Best before at 8 ° C".

For foods with a shelf life of less than three months, the day and month must be specified, for foods with a shelf life of three to 18 months, the month and year.
For foods that have a shelf life of more than 18 months, it is sufficient to indicate the year.

Exceptions: for certain packaged foods no best before date prescribed. This includes fresh fruit and vegetables (exception: germs and sprouts), sugar, table salt (exception: salt with additives such as iodine) and vinegar.

What does the use-by date mean?

Food that perishes very easily and can pose an immediate health risk after a short period of time are marked with the use-by date. The use-by date indicates the last day on which the food can still be consumed. The day, month and, if applicable, the year are either directly after the wording "to be used by", or it must be indicated where the date is on the packaging.

Neither for the best before nor for the use-by date is exactly specified where the note must appear on the packaging.

After the best-before date has expired: Can I still eat food?

After the best-before date has expired, the food is not automatically spoiled. Whether this product is still edible or not can be checked with your own senses.

Net quantity: How much food is there?

With some packaging, you cannot see how much food is actually in the supermarket. Because packaging comes in a wide variety of forms. The actual content can often not even be guessed at. A look at the specified filling quantity can help you here.

The net quantity may be specified as weight (grams or kilograms) or as volume (milliliters or liters) depending on the food. The following applies:

  • On "Lightweights"that weigh less than five grams may not contain information on the filling quantity.
  • At concentrated productsFor soups or salad dressings, for example, it must be stated how many liters or milliliters the prepared product makes.
  • Some foods, like certain ones Varieties of fruits and vegetables, can also be put on the market with the indication of the number of pieces.
The actual filling quantity does not have to correspond exactly to the specified net filling quantity. Manufacturers may only not fall below the average filling quantity within a product batch. Certain deviations from individual packs are permitted within certain statutory tolerance limits. However, if the prepackaging weighs significantly less than the specified amount of content, it can be referred to as underfilling.
Obligation to provide the company name

The name or business name and address of the food business operator must be shown on prepackages. This information is important for you as a consumer as well as for authorities if there is something to complain about.

The entrepreneur under whose name or company the food is marketed is responsible for the information. This can be the manufacturer as well as the packer or the seller.

If the food is produced outside the EU, the importer in the EU must be specified.

Price indication: the basic price helps with the price comparison

In addition to the information on the packaging, the final price and the basic price per unit of quantity must be marked on or near the packaging for each product. This makes price comparisons much easier for the consumer.
The basic price must be stated per kilogram or liter, for smaller quantities up to 250 grams or 250 milliliters per 100 grams or 100 milliliters.

In the case of goods for which the drained weight is to be specified (e.g. canned food), the basic price per unit of quantity refers to the drained weight.
It is not necessary to state the basic price if it is identical to the final price (about 1 liter of milk).