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11.1.  Consumer information in the EU

    Consumer information seeks to ensure that consumers are able to compare the prices for the same product within a country and are as well informed as possible on price differences between the Member States. The indication of the prices of the products represents an important means of information and protection of consumers. A Directive imposes the indication of the price per unit of measurement of all products sold in the shops, thereby giving the consumer a clear idea of the unit cost of the product in question and enabling him or her to compare different products and to make the best choice [Directive 98/6]. The selling price and the unit price must be unambiguous, easily identifiable and clearly legible. They must relate to the final price of the product and must refer to the quantity declared in accordance with national and European provisions.

    The Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers establishes the general principles, requirements and responsibilities governing food information, and in particular food labelling [Regulation 1169/2011, last amended by Regulation 2015/2283]. The provision of food information pursues a high level of protection of consumers’ health and interests by providing a basis for final consumers to make informed choices and to make safe use of food, with particular regard to health, economic, environmental, social and ethical considerations. The Regulation applies to food business operators at all stages of the food chain and to all foods intended for the final consumer, including foods delivered by mass caterers, and foods intended for supply to mass caterers. Harmonised rules apply to nutrition and health claims made in commercial communications, whether in the labelling, presentation or advertising of foods to be delivered as such to the final consumer [Regulation 1924/2006, see section 11.2].

    The Commission encourages the creation and operation of consumer information centres by covering a part of the costs of organisations, which are willing to assume this information task and appear capable of doing so efficiently. It recommends the use of a harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints and enquiries [Recommendation 2010/304]. In addition, the Commission gives financial aid to radio and TV stations to encourage them to give a European dimension to broadcasts on consumer problems. It publishes the "European consumer guide to the single market" and organises the "European Young Consumer Competition" to encourage young people to become aware of consumer issues.

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