Honey labelling: deal with Council on measures to combat fraud 

Press Releases 
  • Country of origin of honey must be clearly visible on the label 
  • EU traceability system for honey needed 
  • Clearer labelling on sugar content in fruit juices 
  • New rules also for fruit in jams and marmalades 

The revision of the “breakfast directives” aims to help consumers make informed and healthier decisions on agri-food products such as honey, fruit juice, jam and marmalades.

On Tuesday evening, negotiators from the Parliament and Council reached a provisional political agreement on updated rules on the composition, name, labelling and presentation of certain 'breakfast' foodstuffs.

Country of origin labelling and traceability system for honey

A large part of the honey imported from non-EU countries is suspected of being adulterated with sugar and remains undetected on the EU market (Commission 2021). In order to counter such fraud and inform consumers better, negotiators agreed to make it obligatory to clearly indicate in the same field of vision as the name of the product, the countries where the honey comes from instead of only if it comes from the EU or not, which is currently the case for honey blends. The percentages of the honey coming from at least the top four countries of origin must also be indicated. If this does not represent more than half of the total honey, the percentages must be indicated for all countries.

Following feasibility studies, and to further limit fraud, the Commission shall propose a unique identifier code or similar technique to be able to trace the honey back to beekeepers. It was also agreed that an EU platform of experts should be set up to gather data to improve controls, detect adulteration in honey and to provide recommendations for an EU traceability system that allows for the honey to be traced back to the harvesting producer or importer.

For fruit juices, jams, and marmalades, the Commission will prepare a report assessing making labelling on the country of origin of the fruit used obligatory within 36 months of entry into force of this directive accompanied by a legislative proposal if appropriate.

Content labelling of juices, jams and marmalade

For jams and marmalades, the general rule will be that at least 450 grams of fruit must be used to produce 1 kilo of jam and marmalades (500 grams for high quality “extra jam”).

Based on Parliament’s proposal, it was also agreed that the label ‘contains only naturally occurring sugars’ should be allowed for fruit juices. In addition, to meet the growing demand for low-sugar products, it was agreed that reformulated fruit juices may be labelled ‘reduced-sugar fruit juice’ if at least 30% of naturally occurring sugars have been removed. However, producers may then not use sweeteners to compensate for the effect of sugar reduction on the taste, texture and quality of the final product.


After the agreement, rapporteur Alexander Bernhuber (EPP, Austria) said: “Today is a good day for more transparent labelling. I am particularly happy that we have taken action to counter fraud with honey. In the future, front labels will have to clearly state the countries of origin also of honey blends and the need for an EU traceability system for honey has been established. These initiatives will better inform consumers, and both beekeepers and consumers will be better protected from adulterated honey.”

Next steps

The deal still has to be adopted by Parliament and Council, after which the new law will be published in the EU Official Journal and enter into force 20 days later. EU countries will have apply the new rules two years after entry into force.


The revision of EU marketing standards for certain 'breakfast' directives was proposed by the European Commission on 21 April 2023 to update current standards that are more than 20 years old.