The objective of the regulation is to ensure a high level of consumer protection, to simplify and modernize legislation, and to harmonize the national legislation currently in force. This regulation goes beyond labeling; it highlights consumer information, taking into account all elements of communication for the consumer.
INCO requires all food labels to include 12 mandatory information statements and specific formatting. These include name, ingredients, nutrition facts including calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, proteins and sodium information, allergens, country of origin for each ingredient, and additional nutrition information such as “packaged in a protective atmosphere,” “with sweeteners,” “contains genetically modified organisms”. The regulation also mandates display characteristics such as minimum font sizes and the use of bold text.
The main changes to note are:
- Legibility: A minimum size of 1.2mm with an exemption of 0.9mm for packaging whose largest surface is less than 80cm².
- Allergen information: This must be identified by a print that distinguishes it from the rest of the ingredient statement; the repetition of allergens present is mandatory. The notification of allergens is also mandatory for non-prepackaged food.
- Labeling of product origin: The label must include the country of origin or place of provenance
- Nutrition information: Becomes mandatory except for water and food supplements. It should present the energy value and the amount of fats (formerly lipids), saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and sodium. The reference quantity must be either 100g or 100ml (and with the possibility of expressing serving portions)
- Additional labeling for some ingredients:
o Foods containing sweeteners have additional labeling requirements which must accompany the name of the food. A food containing sweeteners must state “with sweetener(s)”. Additional labeling is also required for foods containing aspartame.
o Foods in specific packages should display the labeling “packaged in a protective atmosphere”
o Foods containing liquorices or ammonium salt should display different statements depending on the concentration in the foodstuff
o Beverages with high caffeine content or foods with added caffeine in a proportion in excess of 150mg/L, must indicate “High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breastfeeding women” in the same field of vision as the name of the product, followed by a reference in brackets to the caffeine content expressed in mg per 100ml for beverage and in mg per 100g/mL for foodstuff
The list of mandatory information should be provided for all foods. Some specificities in this list have been extended and others which were formerly provided on a voluntary basis are mandatory under the new rules, e.g. nutrition labeling, origin labeling for meats. By December the 13rd, 2014, packaging must mention these 12 compulsory requirements below to assist consumers making better food choices for themselves and their family:
- Ingredients statement including manufactured nanomaterial
- Some ingredient or ingredient category volume – 5% praline
- Net volume
- Best-before date
- Nutritional fact panel with information about calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, sodium and proteins
- Country of origin – for cattle, are required breed and, slaughter country
- Requirements for storage and/or use
- Instructions in the case that their absence makes it difficult to use the foodstuff appropriately
- Company name and address
- Alcohol concentration in %/vol for alcoholic beverage with more than 1.2%/vol
The importance of secure, updated and reliable information is not to demonstrate. This issue is even more crucial since INCO. Many companies already choose document management software to easily gather all information, data and documents about products in a single repository.
Lascom not only provide a unique repository shared by all participants regarding their access rights, providing a “single version of the truth” but also offer an effective formulation module. With the formulation module, R&D teams manage recipes (creation, updates, etc.) automate nutrition facts calculation, generate ingredients statement, allergens and specifications. This module had been updated to fit the new INCO regulation. Manufacturers are now able to automatically generate labeling taking into account not only new INCO requirements but also multi lingual issues to ease international corporations to better manage their product portfolio and ranges.