Consumer rights

Labelling is a tool for protecting consumers and supporting improved food security and nutrition.

from the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (as expanded in 1999)

"In advancing consumer interests, particularly in developing countries, Governments should, where appropriate, give priority to areas of essential concern for the health of the consumer, such as food, water and pharmaceuticals. Policies should be adopted or maintained for product quality control, adequate and secure distribution facilities, standardized international labelling and information, as well as education and research programmes in these areas. Government guidelines in regard to specific areas should be developed in the context of the provisions of this document…

When formulating national policies and plans with regard to food, Governments should take into account the need of all consumers for food security and should support and, as far as possible, adopt standards from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization Codex Alimentarius or, in their absence, other generally accepted international food standards. Governments should maintain, develop or improve food safety measures, including, inter alia , safety criteria, food standards and dietary requirements and effective monitoring, inspection and evaluation mechanisms."

United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (as expanded in 1999)

from FAO Voluntary Guidelines to Support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security (2004)

States should adopt measures to protect consumers from deception and misrepresentation in the packaging, labelling, advertising and sale of food and facilitate consumers’ choice by ensuring appropriate information on marketed food, and provide recourse for any harm caused by unsafe or adulterated food, including food offered by street sellers. Such measures should not be used as unjustified barriers to trade; they should be in conformity with the WTO agreements (in particular SPS and TBT).

States are encouraged to take steps, in particular through education, information and labelling regulations, to prevent overconsumption and unbalanced diets that may lead to malnutrition, obesity and degenerative diseases.

Voluntary Guidelines 9.7, 10.2

last updated:  Tuesday, September 3, 2013