Traceability of pre-packaged foods

Directive 2011/91/EU on indications or marks identifying the lot to which a foodstuff belongs.It has applied since 5 January 2012.

—It makes sure that consumers can trace the origin of pre-packaged foods.
—It requires these foods to be labelled so that consumers can see which lot they come from.
—It ensures that public health and food safety authorities can find out the origin and identity of pre-packaged foods in the event that these are the subject of a dispute or are a health hazard for consumers.
—It sets out rules for producers, manufacturers, packagers and importers for labelling these foods using a common lot identification system.


The Directive applies to all pre-packaged foods apart from:

—agricultural products which are:
—in temporary storage, preparation or packaging stations;
—transported to producers’ organisations; or
—collected for immediate processing.
—foods that are not prepackaged when on sale to the final consumer, are packaged at the purchaser’s request or prepackaged for immediate sale;
—packaging or containers whose largest side is less than 10cm2;
—individual portions of ice cream packaged together, where the lot identification must appear on the outside of the combined package.

Labelling of lots

—Each lot must be labelled by the producer, manufacturer or packager, or the first seller based within the EU if it is imported.
—The lot identification must be preceded by the letter ‘L’ except if is clearly distinguishable from the other information on the label.
—The information on the label must be easily visible, clearly legible and indelible.
—There is no need to indicate the lot if the ‘use by’ date appears on the label.


Directive 2011/91/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on indications or marks identifying the lot to which a foodstuff belongs (OJ L 334, 16.12.2011, pp. 1–5)

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