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Labelling in Europe

Learn about key European Union (EU) food labelling considerations and how our Trade Commissioner Service can help you navigate market regulations.

Video transcript

[Parisian themed music starts.]

[The video opens with a shot of the Eiffel Tower viewed from the Seine River. A red bar appears from the left. The title of the video appears on the bar.]

Text on screen: Canadian Agri-Food Trade Commissioners

[Cut to a time-lapse aerial view of a busy street in Paris. The text disappears and is replaced by new text. The red bar remains.]

Text on screen: Market Opportunity in Europe

[The red bar, text and image disappear from the screen. Cut to shot of Yannick Dheilly.]

Yannick Dheilly: My name is Yannick Dheilly. I'm a trade commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Paris. My job is to address issues ranging from access to trade...

[Cut to slow motion of person holding plastic shopping basket walking through a grocery store.]

...including technical aspects like labelling.

[Parisian themed music fades out.]

[New electronic sounding music fades in.]

[Cut to close up a label being stuck onto a bottle of maple syrup.]

Text on screen: New labelling regulations

One issue is the new labelling regulations that became mandatory in late 2016.

[Cut to boxes of products moving quickly along a conveyor belt.]

There are several key points to understand about labelling...

[Cut to a close up shot of a clear package of pasta being sealed by a machine in a factory.]

...but the main one is that they are very different...

[Cut to shot of bottles of cooking oil moving along a conveyor belt in a factory.]

...from Canadian labelling regulations.

[Cut to a close up shot of maple syrup going into a maple leaf shaped bottle.]

Exporters are really not prepared for how different they are.

[Cut to conveyor belt moving along labeled cardboard which will be shaped into boxes for products.]

There are some fairly major differences...

[Cut to animated label of Nutrition Facts listing calories, total fat, saturated fat etc.]

Text on screen: Nutrition facts table

...with regard to the nutrition facts table...

[Cut to close up of label showing ingredients in a can of tomatoes.]

Text on screen: Ingredients

...the ingredients list...

[Cut to close up shot of lids being put onto containers by a machine in a factory.]

Text on screen: Claims

...and what claims can be made. Canada allows a bit more leeway than Europe...

[Cut to close up shot of Canadian label on a product which says "made with Canadian Wheat"]

...for example in using the words “natural”...

[Cut to shot of young couple shopping in grocery store and reading labels of products.]

...or “100% pure”...

[Cut to shot of Yannick Dheilly.]

...and the regulations make it difficult to understand what needs to be changed.

[Cut to the same young couple checking a label on a bottle in the grocery store.]

Text on screen: Consumer protection is a key concern

Consumer protection is a key concern in Europe...

[Cut to conveyor belt with bottles moving along it.]

...and the new law...

[Cut to boxes of product moving quickly along a conveyor belt in factory.]

...reinforces that even further.

[Cut to shot of the same young couple pushing a grocery cart and selecting a product off of the shelf.]

You have to be careful what you say about a product.

[Cut to small silver packages of product moving down a conveyor belt in factory.]

If you want to say it has certain attributes or make health claims, for instance...

[Cut to shot of Yannick Dheilly.]

...that kind of thing is very heavily regulated.

[Cut to a time-lapse shot of a shipping port where a ship is being loaded with containers.]

Text on screen: Non-compliant products

Non-compliant products are a problem.

[Cut to a closer time-lapse shot of activity at the shipping port.]

They won't be stopped by customs, contrary to what you might think.

[Cut to shot of Yannick Dheilly.]

However, once on the market, they will be considered non-compliant. That means that at any point in the process of going to market...

[Cut to time-lapse of distribution warehouse with trucks coming and going and being loaded with products.]

...they could be found to be non-compliant, and the distributor could be fined.

[Over top of the shot of the distribution warehouse are layered one at a time are 4 images of different labels on Canadian products.]

This will cause problems with the distributor or the retailer...

[Cut to a shot of stacked packages of pasta ready for shipping.]

...problems that really aren't necessary.

[Cut to shot of sunflower packages being filled in factory and then those packages being

taken off of a conveyor belt to be boxed for shipping.]

All you have to do is fix the labelling before going to market.

[Cut to close up shot of labels being put on a bottle of soy oil by hand.]

Trade commissioners like me can answer that kind of question, either by...

[Cut to shot of Yannick Dheilly.]

...providing a specific response on issues such as health claims or by performing a full analysis of a label. I do that kind of thing all the time.

[Cut to aerial shot of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Red bar appears from left.]

Text on screen:

[The text on screen changes.]

Text on screen: Contact Us Today

[Dissolve to the animated Canada word mark]

Text on screen: (c) Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2017)

[Electronic sounding music fades out.]

[Fade to black.]

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