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Food Composition Data and Labelling

A challenging dialogue

image of Food Composition Data and Labelling

This report describes the activities of two projects that were carried out us-ing the infrastructure of the Nordic Food Analysis Network, i.e. the ‘Nordic Food Composition Data for Labelling (NordCoLa)’ project carried out between 2018 and 2020, and the preceding project ‘Fostering the quality and use of Nordic food composition data’, carried out under the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2016. The primary aim of the NordCoLa project was to evaluate the needs, gaps and synergies of the Nordic food consumption databases in relation to the data to be used to implement the new European nutrient labelling legislation. This was to ensure quality food composition data in the Nordic countries for food producers and other users for nutrient labelling purposes. The results of the projects are summarised in this report.

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Background

Up-to-date, accurate and relevant food composition data has recently become essential for nutrient labelling of packaged foods. This is due to the new European legislation on food labelling (EU) No. 1169/2011, which includes mandatory nutrient labelling of energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt on the food labels on all packaged foods by 13 December 2016. In addition, vitamin and mineral values may be labelled in case the amounts in the food can be considered significant. The national food composition databases (FCDBs) are used to compile the mandatory nutrient information of a product or to calculate nutrient values in recipes, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or manufacturers that are not able to routinely analyse the nutrient content of their packaged food products. The limitation of FCDBs are the lack of information on certain ingredients in use by food producers and the industry. These are both new industrially-used and more traditional and locally-used ingredients in the Nordic countries that are missing from FCDBs.

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