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Parliamentary questions
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27 June 2016
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-003771/2016

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011(1) provides that food information shall not be misleading as to the characteristics of the food and, in particular, as to its nature, identity, properties and composition or by suggesting, by means of the appearance, the description or pictorial representations, the presence of a certain ingredient or food, when, in reality, a component being naturally present or an ingredient normally used in that food has been substituted with a different component or a different ingredient(2). In addition, where a substitution ingredient(s) is used in a product, the name of the product should be followed in close proximity by the name of the substitution ingredient(s)(3).

It is up to the food business operator to find an appropriate name for this substitution food in accordance with the rules concerning the name of the food. In addition, the provisions of the product-specific legislation in place, where appropriate, shall also be respected.

The Commission considers that the applicable provisions provide sufficient legal basis to protect consumers from being misled.

Member States have the primary responsibility to enforce, monitor and verify that the relevant requirements of food law are fulfilled by food business operators at all stages of production, processing and distribution.

Finally, Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 gives the Commission the power to adopt an implementing act on how to provide information on the suitability of foods to vegetarians or vegans given on voluntary basis, to ensure that this information is not misleading, ambiguous or confusing for the consumer(4).

(1)Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18.
(2)Article 7(1)(a)&(d).
(3)Annex VI, part A, point 4.
(4)Article 36(3)(b).

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