Unfortunately not. In some Member States, like Germany, case-law, particularly in the field of competition, plays a very important role and the interpretation of EU law differs to some extent from other Member States. In other Member States, soft law, in the form of government notices or industry codes of practices, plays an important role. Therefore, expert knowledge is required.
Under EU law (Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011) food products are required to have labels in Italian, French, German, or other national languages, when placed on the market of a specific country, even if sold online.
Making available a food product on a certain market means using online the language of a specific country, claiming the product can be shipped to that country, etc. The label information should be available in the relevant language online, but also on the packaging delivered to the consumer.
Although most food labelling regulations are made at the EU level, national regulations still exist and apply. Although some national regulations can be overridden by mutual recognition, this has to be evaluated on a case by case basis, considering the relevant regulatory aspects and the practical implications.
Food labels contain mandatory information. The wording of mandatory information is often indicated precisely by regulations. Therefore, the correct translation may derive from the legal texts, or from case-law, and a good and precise understanding of regulations is required for a compliant translation. Moreover, practice and customs have led to a specific jargon on labels in each country, beyond legal requirements, and consumers expect such jargon to be used. Native speakers are important to review voluntary information. Labels should sound “right” to consumers. Online tools such as Translate are not fit for this purpose.
EU regulations, though based on similar principles, are quite different from US regulations. The presentation and content of the label, including the nutrients, are very different. Moreover, compliance of labels is just one of the several compliance issues that food imported from the US, or to the US, face.
Keeping up-to-date on the news in the technical-regulatory field concerning the food sector, supplements and any other food category is the first step to move ahead of the competition or plan in time any changes required by the law. Hylobates provides this service which can be customized based on the food category and target countries of interest.