Food composition. What do you have a right to know as a consumer?
Consumer rights

Food composition. What do you have a right to know as a consumer?

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Certain information on food labels is mandatory. It must be clear, legible and easily accessible. See what information is required.

Composition of the food

The list of ingredients must include all the ingredients of the foodstuff, in descending order, from the one used the most to the least used intermediate. Ingredients are called by their exact names as specified in the recipe. If such names do not exist, common or descriptive names are used. In addition, if an ingredient has been replaced by something else, the label must also contain information about this.

As for when it is not necessary to provide information on the composition of the product, this applies to foods such as

– carbonated water, if its description indicates that it has been carbonated,

– fresh fruit and vegetables,

– vinegar that is derived from a single product,

– cheese, fermented milk and cream, butter – if no ingredients other than dairy products, food enzymes or microbial cultures have been added,

– foods that contain a single ingredient.

Importantly, all food composition information must be:

– placed in a visible place,

– given in the Polish language,

– clearly legible and indelible.

It cannot be hidden or reduced in any way or interrupted by other printings.

Allergens in the composition

Food manufacturer is obliged to put information about allergens on foodstuffs. It is not necessary to label them only if the product name clearly refers to a specific allergen, for example “peanut butter” or “soy bread”. They must be indicated in the list of ingredients and be clearly distinguishable from the rest of the ingredients, for example by background color, font or style.

Recognized as allergens are:

– cereals, which contain gluten,

– eggs,

– crustaceans,

– fish,

– peanuts,

– soy,

– milk and products thereof, including lactose,

– nuts,

– celery,

– lupin,

– molluscs,

– sesame seeds,

– products derived from all of the above,

– sulphur dioxide and sulphates.

Quantitative indication of ingredients

The indication of the quantity of an ingredient or category of ingredients that was used in the manufacture of a given product shall be obligatory where the ingredients concerned appear in the name of the product or are usually associated with that name, are emphasized on the labelling in graphic or verbal form and are essential to characterizing the product.

The quantity of ingredients shall be expressed as a percentage and shall be indicated either in or immediately next to the product name or in the list of ingredients in connection with the specific items.

Quantitative indication shall not be required in respect of ingredients which are used in small quantities for the purposes of flavouring or the ingredients of marinated products if their net weight is indicated.

Distance selling

In the case of distance selling, for example via the Internet, the law sets out specific rules for informing consumers about the composition of food. In the case of such transactions, all information must be available not only at the time of delivery, but also before the final purchase. They must be included in the materials that accompany the distance selling. These rules do not apply only to food sold in vending machines or automated retail outlets.

Main photo: Mehrad Vosoughi/

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