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EU Versus US: A Closer Look at Food Standards

Europe vs. USA

As the US subsidiary of a European food manufacture, Germinal Organic is exposed to both European and American food product rules and regulations. Let’s take a look at a few areas where U.S. and EU food product standards differ.


European regulations against additives in food products are generally stricter than in the U.S. This difference is due mostly to the fact that Europe has chosen a precautionary approach in regulating, while the U.S. governing bodies tend to be more reactive. In other words, in the United States, food additives are innocent until proven guilty, while in Europe, only those additives proven not to be harmful are approved for use.

As a result, there many petrochemical-based food colorings and other artificial ingredients like brominated vegetable oil (BVO) and rBHG that are banned in Europe, but these and other additives are approved for use in the USA.


According to FDA policy, food packaging must disclose the presence of the following eight common allergens: milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. The EU FIC guidelines require the mandatory listing of 14 allergens. Moreover, these allergens must be listed directly in the ingredients section, rather than in a separate box.

The EU also has new rules for allergenic ingredient disclosures outside of traditional retail food labels; restaurants, for example, must list all allergens in a specific place, such as the ingredient list. Establishments serving food in America are still not required by law to list allergens and other ingredients, but this could change as health-conscious restaurants and chains are already changing the trends.


FDA food labeling requirements have only changed twice since the early 1990s, once in 2006 and again in 2014. Conversely, European food labeling rules were not strictly fixed until relatively recently. The most recent provision outlines “minimum font size for mandatory information, a standard presentation of allergens and required nutritional information.”

Overall, US and EU policy for food labels are rather similar. The major differences involve the labeling of additives and GMOs. The FDA mandates that additives are listed by their common name, rather than with a European e-number; if a product label contains an e-number, it will not be allowed into the country. When it comes to GMOs, on the other hand, European regulations are quite strict, while the FDA does not even require a label to indicate their presence.

All Germinal Organic food products are made in Italy and imported directly into the USA. Stay tuned and follow Germinal Organic on LinkedIn for more consumer and industry insights.


Germinal Organic at the Natural Product Expo West 2023

Natural Product Expo West 2023

From 8 to 10 March we will participate in the next Natural Products Expo West 2023 in the Anaheim Convention Center.
Natural Products Expo West continues to be the one of the most long awaited Organic Food & Beverage events in the U.S.
Stop by the North Hall Booth N1507 and meet our team!

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