Overview of the different labeling and marking requirements, including any restrictive advertising or labeling practices and where to get more information.
An overview of EU mandatory and voluntary labeling and marking requirements has been compiled in the European Union Country Commercial Guide. Spanish labeling requirements are similar to those used elsewhere in the EU, except that they must be in Spanish and include that the name and the EU address of the manufacturer/distributor/packer. It should also be noted that the all labels require metric units. In addition, the Regional Government of Catalonia requires that all products for distribution in the region need to be labeled in the local language (Catalan). Catalonia is the only region in Spain with this official requirement, making the need for close collaboration with a good local partner/importer/distributor all the more important in order to ensure a smooth market entry.
Manufacturers should be mindful that, in addition to the EU’s mandatory and voluntary schemes, national voluntary labeling schemes might still apply. These Union has updated certain regulations on products including batteries, chemicals, cosmetics, agriculture and more. schemes may be highly appreciated by consumers, thus become unavoidable for marketing purposes. There is also an EU Directive covering nominal quantities for pre-packed products and also liberalizes pack sizes and promotes free circulation of products in the EU single market
The standard U.S. label does not comply with the EU’s labeling requirements. On December 13, 2014, the EU’s new “Food Information to Consumers (FIC)” Regulation 1169/2011 became applicable and introduced new obligations and changes to the existing rules. The FIC regulation established new horizontal labeling requirements and repealed labeling directive 2000/13/EC, as well as nutrition labeling directive 90/496/EEC and warning labels directive 2008/5/EC.
Detailed information on this labeling requirements can be found in the
The EU eco-label is a voluntary label, which U.S. exporters can display on products that meet high standards of environmental awareness. The eco-label is intended to be a marketing tool to encourage consumers to purchase environmentally friendly products. The criteria for displaying the eco-label are strict, covering the entire lifespan of the product from its manufacture, use, and disposal. These criteria are reviewed every three to five years to take into account advances in manufacturing procedures. There are currently 30 different product groups, and approximately 1,300 licenses have been awarded for several hundred products.
Applications to display the eco-label should be directed to the competent body of the member state in which the product is sold. The application fee will be somewhere between EUR 275- 1600 (USD 325-1,890) depending on the tests required to verify if the product is eligible, and an annual fee for the use of the logo (typically between USD 480 - 2000), with a 20 percent reduction for companies registered under the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) or certified under the international standard ISO 14001. Discounts are available for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
In view of the complexity and rapid change in marking, labeling and testing requirements in Spain, U.S. exporters are advised to request pertinent instructions from their importers prior to shipment.
Basic labeling requirements apply in certain product categories:
- Electrical products that operate in a range of 50 to 1,000 volts alternating current or 75 to 1,500 volts direct current must comply with the EU low-voltage directive. There are three accepted forms of proof of conformity with this regulation: a mark issued by an authorized EU agency, a certificate issued by an approved EU authority or a declaration issued by the manufacturer, which can self-certify the product.
- Used equipment: Spain now allows the entry of used equipment, material and goods subject to the same standards concerning safety as new imports in the same product category.
- Foodstuffs: The Directorate General of Health implements human consumption standards for the preparation, residue content and storage media for virtually all foodstuffs. Labeling must conform to EU requirements and must be in Spanish.
- Food and Animal Feed: Genetically modified organism (GMO) containing products must be labeled “contains GMOs”. “Traceability” through the production chain is required by the new legislation. The GMO content of products must be documented along the production chain and kept on file for five years.
- Agricultural products: Labeling requirements are fully harmonized with the EU labeling system and labels must be in Spanish.
The standard U.S. label does not comply with the EU’s labeling requirements. On December 13, 2014, the EU’s new “Food Information to Consumers (FIC)” Regulation 1169/2011 became applicable and introduced new obligations and changes to the existing rules. The FIC regulation establishes new horizontal labeling requirements and repeals labeling directive 2000/13/EC, as well as nutrition labeling directive 90/496/EEC and warning labels directive 2008/5/EC. For specific information on agricultural standards, please refer to the
- Textiles: Customs and point-of-sale regulations require that all textile goods and ready-made clothing have a Spanish label. Standard Spanish textile nomenclature and content requirements must be stated on the label. Requirements relating to textile content, labeling and packaging are specific and extensive.
- Drugs, Pharmaceuticals, and Cosmetics: These goods are subject to technical inspection and registration by the Directorate General of Health prior to entry. There are also detailed marking and labeling requirements, somewhat similar to those for foodstuffs, which include detailed chemical composition.
- Fertilizers and Fungicides: Imported fertilizers must be registered with the local Ministry of Agriculture. Inspection and analysis will be performed prior to customs clearance.
The Ministry of Agriculture must approve all printed advertising and publicity materials, and labels must be in Spanish and include detailed precautions. The Ministry web page includes a link for “phytosanitary products” and the on-line register.