Labeling and Marking Requirements
Packaging and Labeling
In general, the Netherlands closely follows EU labeling requirements and regulations. Differences occur primarily in relation to the labeling of agricultural and food products.
All labels require metric units although dual labeling is also acceptable until end of December 2009. The use of language on labels has been the subject of a Commission Communication, which encourages multilingual information, while preserving the right of Member States to require the use of language of the country of consumption.
The EU has mandated that certain products be sold in standardized quantities. Council Directive 2007/45/EC, to replace 80/232/EC in April 2009, harmonizes packaging of wine and spirits throughout the EU. Existing national sizes will be abolished with a few exceptions for domestic producers.
EU legislation in 1992, revised in 2000, distinguishes environmentally friendly products and services through a voluntary labeling scheme called the Eco-label. Currently, the scheme applies to 28 product types in 7 categories: cleaning products, appliances, paper products, clothing, lubricants, home and garden products and tourism services. The symbol, a green flower, is a voluntary mark. The Eco-label is awarded to producers who can show that their product is less harmful to the environment than similar products. This "green label" also aims to encourage consumers to buy green products. However, the scheme does not establish ecological standards that all manufacturers are required to meet to place product on the market. Products without the EU Eco-label can still enter the EU as long as they meet the existing health, safety, and environmental standards and Regulations.
The EU Eco-label is a costly scheme (up to EUR 1,300 for registration and up to EUR 25,000/year for the use of the label, with a reduction of 25% for SMEs) and has therefore not been widely used so far. However, the Eco-label can be a good marketing tool and, given the growing demand for green products in Europe, it is likely that the Eco-label will become more and more a reference for green consumers.
Key Links: http://buyusainfo.net/docs/x_4284752.pdf
improving the single market puts a lot of emphasis on the role of importer. The general product safety directive specifies:
"(a) an indication, by means of the product or its packaging, of the identity and details of the producer and the product reference or, where applicable, the batch of products to which it belongs, except where not to give such indication is justified"
Also, the m
anufacturer has to decide about choice of material used for packaging to minimize the impact on the environment. He also needs to look into signing up for a recycling scheme.
The use of language on labels was the subject of a 1993 Commission communication, the gist of which encourages multilingual information while preserving the freedom of Members States to require the use of language of the country of consumption. At present, language requirements are a national issue in which Member States determine the appropriate language/languages necessary for labels on products in certain industries.
Country of Origin Marking
With only minor exceptions, there are no general requirements for marking imported goods with the country of origin. Good shipping practice dictates that packages should bear the consignee's mark and be numbered unless the shipment is such that the content of the packages can be readily identified without numbers. Requirements for specific products should be obtained from the importer. The import, export, or transit of non-Dutch goods having markings that imply that the goods are of Dutch manufacture or origin is prohibited.
Hallmarking of gold and silver articles is required before they can be offered for sale. Only small tolerances are allowable for manufacturing errors. The hallmarking may be done by a Netherlands hallmarking office after importation.
The Netherlands applies the EU product standards and certification approval process. The Netherlands is required by the 1958 Treaty of Rome to incorporate in its national laws the EU directives. With the development of a single product standard, U.S. exporters may find that it is easier to comply with one EU-wide standard rather than having to meet several individual national standards when exporting to Europe
An overview of EU mandatory and voluntary labeling and marking requirements has been compiled in a market research report that is available on: