There is a broad array of EU legislation pertaining to the marking, labeling, and packaging of products in the European Union. The first step in investigating the marking, labeling, and packaging legislation that might apply to a product entering the European Union is to draw a distinction between what is mandatory and what is voluntary. Decisions related to mandatory marking, labeling, or packaging requirements may sometimes be left up to individual Member States. Furthermore, voluntary marks and labels are used as marketing tools in some Member States but not in others. This section is focused primarily on the mandatory marks and labels seen most often on consumer products and packaging, which are typically related to public safety, health, or environmental concerns. It also includes a brief overview of a few mandatory packaging requirements, as well as more common voluntary marks or labels used in EU markets.
It is also important to distinguish between marks and labels. A mark is a symbol and/or pictogram that appears on a product or its respective packaging. These range in scope from signs of danger to indications of methods of proper recycling and disposal. The intention of such marks is to provide market surveillance authorities, importers, distributors, and end users with information concerning safety, health, energy efficiency and environmental issues relating to a product. Labels, on the other hand, appear in the form of written text or numerical statements, which may be required but are not necessarily universally recognizable. Labels typically indicate more specific information about a product, such as measurements or an indication of materials that may be found in the product (such as in textiles or batteries).
Mandatory Marks and Labels
- Dangerous substances
- Electrical and electronic equipment
- Energy efficiency
- Explosive atmosphere
- Food related
- Household Appliances
- Measuring instruments
- Noise Emissions
- Recycling; separate collection
- Tire labeling
- Units of measurement
- Wood packaging
Voluntary Marks and Labels
- Materials in contact with food
- The Green Dot
- Recycling marks
Voluntary and mandatory marks and labels apply to all EU Member States, countries in the European Economic Area, European Free Trade Association, as well as candidate countries seeking membership to the European Union.
For more detail on EU labeling and marking requirements, Visit the European Union country Commercial guide article at https://www.trade.gov/country-commercial-guides/eu-labelingmarking-requirements.