Legal aspects of food information toconsumers

Asta Šamulevičiūtė

Abstract


In order to achieve a high level of health protection for consumers and to guarantee their right to information, it should be ensured that consumers are appropriately informed as regards about the food they consume. Only well-informed consumer is able to make rational decisions on purchasing foods according to his individual needs and interests.
Taking into account the importance of food information to consumers and measures of European Union that have been taken exercising its shared competence in the areas of internal market and consumer protection, the aim of this article is to analyse the legal requirements of food information, also how and how much of this information can be made available to consumers.
The paper deals with the concept of food information to consumers, it also discusses the link between definition, mentioned above, i.e. „food information to consumers“, and „labelling“: whether these definitions have the same or different meaning. The feasibility to implement a definition of „food information to consumers“ into national laws should be considered.
The article examines main provisions of food information to consumers, laid down in new Regulation No 1169/2011, i.e. fair information practices, provisions on responsibilities for the food information, list of mandatory particulars etc. Furthermore, ethical considerations, impacting informed decision making when buying food, are observed. However, it is not so important now, how should consumers be provided with even more information, but whether this higher content of information means better informed consumer.
Also attention paid to the provision of Regulation No 1169/2011, which allows Member States to adopt measures requiring additional mandatory particulars for specific types or categories of foods, justified on at least one of the mentioned grounds, and which could be a gateway for Member States to require almost any sort of information on foods, justified by the protection of consumers. Which institution should adopt such measures in Lithuania, is not clear, therefore the author suggests to discuss this question and regulate it explicitly.
Though there is a very detailed attempt to regulate food information to consumers with Regulation No 1169/2011, it is obvious that this area is still evolving and some aspects require additional research and analysis.

Keywords


food; food law; food information to consumers; food labelling; food label

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"Health Policy and Management" ISSN online 2029-9001 / ISSN print 2029-3569