Veggie food

No Danish or EU rules and regulations exist governing vegetarian and vegan food. In addition, no specific guidelines apply to vegetarian or vegan products in Denmark and, consequently, such categories of foods are subject to the common rules and regulations applying to all foods. Such rules and regulations imply, for example, that the packaging and labelling of vegetarian and vegan products must not be misleading to the average consumer.

Such rules on fair information are not a Danish construct but are laid down in Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. It follows from Article 7 that food information must not be misleading as to, for example, but not limited to, the characteristics of the food and, in particular, as to its nature, identity, properties, composition, quantity, durability, country of origin, method of manufacture or production. Furthermore, the food information must not give the impression that the food in question has special characteristics when all similar foods have the same characteristics by specifically emphasising the presence or absence of certain ingredients and/or nutrients.

The Vegetarian Society of Denmark (DVF) is an organisation dedicated to increasing the availability of animal-free products and reducing the consumption of animal products. DVF has implemented two voluntary labelling schemes – the V Label and the Green Heart – and Danish as well as international enterprises may apply to become subject to and to use such schemes.

Fortification of foods

Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to foods applies to the fortification of foods. However, national legislation also applies in Denmark as to the addition of vitamins, minerals and certain other substances to foods. An executive order exists as to the addition of vitamins and minerals, applying to regular foods and not food supplements, and an executive order exists as to the addition of certain other substances (such as e.g. caffeine), applying to both regular foods and food supplements.

For each of the said executive orders, an annex has been appended with food categories and the relevant nutrients which may be added to a given food category, including the relevant maximum limit. If a food fits in a listed food category, and the nutrients added are not above the maximum limit, a notification is still required to be made at the same time at the latest as when the product is placed on the Danish market. If a food category is not listed, if the nutrients are not listed for that specific category, or if the maximum amount of a certain nutrient is exceeded, preapproval must be obtained from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) prior to the marketing of the product in Denmark. Please note that processing of the application by the DVFA may take up to six months. Before the DVFA decides on the application, it will typically consult the Danish Food Institute for a risk assessment of the addition of the nutrient.

Country of origin requirements (COOL)

No national rules apply in Denmark concerning country of origin and, consequently, the legislative requirements are primarily to be found in Article 26 and other relevant articles of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. As a supplement to the said Regulation, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (DVFA) has issued a guidance on food labelling. The guidance is not specific to country of origin labelling alone but contains guidance on applicable EU and Danish food labelling requirements.

It follows from the guidance that, when a food company specifies the country of origin of a product, it must assess the overall marketing of the food, including statements on the packaging, in illustrations, symbols and/or expressions that refer to places or geographic areas. Whether the country of origin declaration on the product is accurate or misleading to the consumer depends on a case-by-case assessment of the specific product.

Cannabis as an ingredient in foods and food supplements

No national regulations apply in Denmark on cannabis as an ingredient in foods and food supplements and, consequently, applicable EU rules and regulations are of relevance, including Regulation (EU) No 2015/2283 on Novel Foods and Article 14 on food safety requirements of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law.

Seeds, seed meal, protein powder from seeds, defatted hemp seeds and seed oil are not categorised as novel foods. Similarly, the use of hemp leaves in tea is also not considered a novel food. These must be derived from varieties of industrial hemp that are listed in the EU catalogue of varieties and that are free from or low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The European Commission has set limit values for THC content in hemp seeds and hemp products, and The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has set guideline limits for THC content in hemp leaf tea.

Products other than those listed above that are derived from the hemp plant (e.g. the root, flower, stem and top shoot) are categorised as novel foods, and the marketing of these products is subject to an authorisation, including risk assessment, under the EU novel food legislation.

Similarly, cannabidiol (CBD) is a novel food and therefore requires novel food authorisation prior to marketing. Extracts of the hemp plant, derived products containing cannabinoids (including CBD), extracts of other cannabinoid-containing plants and synthetically produced cannabinoids are all novel foods, and any marketing thereof will be subject to a risk assessment and authorisation.

Martin Dræbye Gantzhorn, Bech-Bruun Law Firm P/S

Martin Dræbye Gantzhorn

Martin Dræbye Gantzhorn
Gorrissen Federspiel


This is general information rather than legal advice and is current as of 30 May 2024. We recommend you contact a specialised food lawyer for legal advice for your particular circumstances to support commercial decisions which could impact your product or business.