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Term dictionary



The presence of food allergens must be stated on the label. These allergens are listed in the Decree. The list consists of gluten (cereals containing gluten), crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soybeans, milk (lactose), nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts), celery, mustard, sesame, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and sulfites at levels above 10 mg/kg, lupin, molluscs, and products thereof. The food whose name indicates clearly that the product contains the relevant allergen (e.g. butter) is exempt.

Best before date, Use-by date

Best before date (BBD)

– the date until that a producer guarantees the quality of food if storage conditions are maintained. The food may be offered even after this date under certain conditions, but it must not be harmful to health, must be visibly labelled with the information that the BBD has expired, and must be separated from other offered foodstuffs. Labelling the expired food as "special offer" or "sale" is not enough.

Use-by date (UBD)

– food must not be offered after this date because its safety cannot be guaranteed. Perishable foodstuffs (such as ham) are labelled with UBD.

Country of origin, country of production

Country of origin

The country where food has been obtained or produced or where the last substantial processing took place.

Country of production

The country where food has been produced, where the last technologically important change took place.


According to the European legislation, "food" means any substance or product, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, intended to be, or reasonably expected to be ingested by humans. Food includes drinks, chewing gums and water.

What's not food – according to legislation, food shall not include:

  • Feed;

  • Live animals unless they are prepared for placing on the market for human consumption;

  • Plants prior to harvesting;

  • Medicinal products;

  • Cosmetics;

  • Tobacco and tobacco product;

  • Residues and contaminants.


Food business operator

Food law uses the term "Food business operator (FBO) ". It refers to the natural or legal persons responsible for ensuring that the requirements of food law are met within the food business under their control. Food business means any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food. Both producers and sellers are regarded as FBOs.

Food packaging labels

Food packaging labels – written texts, pictures and graphic information on a packaging. Labelling must be performed using standard procedures and the consumer must not be misled. The labels shall contain especially the name of a foodstuff, ingredients list, the information concerning a manufacturer, a distributor, the country of origin, product weight and, last but not least, use-by date or best before date. The label may also contain the information stated beyond legislation requirements (i.e. voluntarily).
Packaging declaration – sometimes used with the same meaning as the term "packaging label".


Products produced "at a time", at one place, using the same raw material and the same technology, i.e. "in one lot", belong to the same lot. It is therefore legitimate to assume that all products with the same lot number have identical properties. The fact that a producer may use several different Best before dates for a single lot when labelling a product is irrelevant.

Place of inspection

The particular place where an official inspection has been performed. Inspections may take place in a shop, in a manufacturing plant (i.e. directly at a producer), in a distributor's warehouse, during the transportation of foodstuffs, etc.

Placing on the market

Holding food or feed for the purpose of sale, including offering for sale or any other form of transfer, whether free of charge or not, and the sale, distribution, and other forms of transfer themselves.

Poor-quality, adulterated and unsafe food

Poor-quality food – the food that does not conform to legal provisions concerning quality or whose quality does not conform to the quality declared by a producer but whose faults do not substantially change its characteristics. On this website, we define quality as adhering to the declared content determined by legal provisions or stated on the label of a foodstuff.

Adulterated food – the food whose faults concern the nature, characteristics or origin of the food or that significantly violates the legal provisions concerning quality of food. Food is regarded as adulterated if the customer is deliberately misled when buying the food. For instance, important information concerning ingredients or origin of the food is deliberately withheld.

Unsafe food – the food whereby the violation of the obligation to conform to requirements concerning safety of food, defined by legal provisions, such as exceeding the hygienic limit for foreign substances, using excessive amount of additives (so-called "E numbers") or disobeying microbiological requirements, has been detected. The safety of food may also be threatened by the presence of foreign objects in food, such as sand, shells, glass splinters, etc.

Purchase documents

It must be possible to trace the journey of each product from a manufacturer to a retail store. Anyone who places a product on the market must be able to document where they obtained it. Delivery notes, invoices, etc. may belong among such documents. It must be possible to use the aforementioned documents to trace the product back to the factory where it has been produced, and the manufacturer must also be able to document to whom the products have been delivered. The obligation to document to whom a foodstuff has been sold does not naturally apply to retail business.
RASFF – Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed
RASFF is an information system in which all the countries of the European Union are engaged. The purpose of the system is to efficiently exchange information concerning the unsafe food and feed that pose a threat to consumers and that have been found on the market within the European Union.
For more information, visit RASFF.

Trace amount

A very small amount of a certain substance, often barely detectable/identifiable using laboratory methods. Nonetheless, even such small amount of allergen may cause serious health problems to an allergic person.