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Pet Food Regulations / Pet Food Labeling
On January 14, 2014

New European petfood legislation: Mind the language

Preparing a new petfood label in multiple languages in multiple European countries can be a confusing and frustrating task if you don't know the new regulations

While the impact of the new European regulations on what must be declared on a petfood label is easy to see, it may not be so obvious that their approval has also led to the establishment of a specific compliant terminology to be used in some of the label sections. Using other terms will result in wrong labeling, which can have consequences in terms of both time (negotiation with national authorities) and money (fines) (Meyer, 2013). It is thus not a minor issue, but rather an important consideration when preparing a label.

The importance of  using this specific European terminology increases dramatically when the petfood product is to be marketed in multiple EU countries. Indeed, the label needs to be translated into at least one of the official languages of each country in which the product will be placed (Official Journal of the European Union, 2009). As the regulations are available in all the official EU languages, it goes without saying that the regulated label terms will need to be used not only on the English label, but also the French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, Czech, Finnish, Danish and Greek labels, to name just a few.

Clearly, this can pose a challenge when a company is targeting the entire EU, as up to a total of 23 different languages will need to be considered. The higher the number of languages, the higher the risk of getting one of the regulated terms wrong. The situation is especially delicate…

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