Government and nutrition labelling

In their efforts to improve diets and public health, governments may consider implementation of a labeling policy as a tool to inform the public about specific products and assist consumers in selecting products. The decision to implement labeling includes a review of priorities and evidence. Some governments require that a formal cost benefit analysis is carried out before implementing a law.

In addition to enacting legislation, governments may develop guidance for food producers and educational materials for consumers to improve the effectiveness of the policy. Governments may support research and the creation of databases to provide information about food composition.  


Labelling policies may be implemented at a provincial or state level, national level, regional or international level. Some governments enact new laws to implement a labelling policy while others use existing laws. Labelling laws may be developed jointly by more than one country. Each country may then incorporate the policy into their national system. Thus, there are many legal approaches to implementing a labelling policy.

Each government has specific requirements, and nutrition labels may vary greatly by country. Detailed information is provided under the country’s name on this website.

For examples of country legislation in the field of nutrition labelling click on the links on the right. Texts are providied in their original language.


Governments that decide to introduce labelling must plan to set up and maintain the structures required to promote the enforcement of these laws, through guidelines, inspection procedures, training to industry and other means.

Research and analysis

last updated:  Tuesday, September 3, 2013