The European Federation of Associations of Health Products Manufacturers (EHPM) said that the minimum 1.2mm font size on all packages (and 0.9mm for packages with a total surface area smaller than 60cm2) proposed by the Council in discussions on the EU food labelling regulation is impractical, calling it “a disproportionate burden” for food supplement and specialist health product manufacturers.
EHPM, which represents more than 2500 health product manufacturers across the European Union (EU), argue that the Council has not taken into consideration issues such as multi-lingual labels, which are compulsory in some EU Member States, and that products such as food supplements fall under a specific directive, which also requires additional mandatory labelling.
“We cannot support such minimum font sizes,” said EHPM Chairman Peter Van Doorn. “This issue should be dealt with through recommendations and guidelines that take into account sector specificities. Legibility is a complex question dependent on a number of factors, such as layout, colour and contrast and type of font.”
“In most cases—the most striking example being multivitamin food supplements—the food supplement sector would need to extend packages and containers in order to place all of the required elements on the label in a legible way,” he added. “This size increase would be detrimental to the environment and contrary to our obligations under the EU packaging regulations.”
EHPM instead voiced support for an amendment proposed by the European Parliament for packages or containers with a printable surface area of less than 80cm2 to have a minimum font size of 0.9mm.
“Any general provision requiring a mandatory font size where the height is more than 1mm would be impossible to comply with for the majority of food supplement products,” said Mr Van Doorn.
The European Parliament, Council and the European Commission are expected to meet for a further discussion in June.
The European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) was created in 1975, working to provide consumers with safe, science-based, high quality products as well as accurate and helpful information about their nutritional value and use. www.ehpm.org.