Keto, ecommerce, nutrition facts. The lawyer Dario Dongo responds

Dear Dario,

I tried to consult the characteristics and 'nutrition facts' of one snack (plum cake) formulated for the keto diet (ketogenic diet), on offer on the specialist e-commerce site Foodamia. (1)

However, the information sheet does not contain the list of ingredients but only information on the flavors available and the nutritional declaration. I ask you for a brief opinion on the conformity of the news reported.

Many thanks, Gualtiero

The lawyer Dario Dongo, Ph.D. in international food law, answers

Dear Gualtiero,

operators in the food and distribution sector, as well as the managers of 'online marketplaces' (i.e. Amazon), in the case of remote sales of food products, have the duty to provide consumers with all the mandatory information prescribed as mandatory on the label, without prejudice those relating to batch code and 'date marking' (e.g. use-by, bestbefore).

1) Ecommerce, mandatory information on food products

The mandatory information in the remote sale of food products, in the case of e-commerce, they must be made available to users before they make the purchase choice (EU regulation 1169/11, article 14). (2) Better yet before the consumer places the product in the shopping cart, otherwise it could constitute an unfair commercial practice pursuant to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (EU) No 2019/2161. (3)

such information must:

– include all the information required by the Food Information Regulation, (4) in addition to those possibly provided for by sector regulations that apply to individual product categories,

– be reported in all the official languages ​​applied in the EU member countries where the products are marketed. With further obstacles, still unresolved, on some regulated products. (5)

2) List of ingredients and allergens, crucial news

The list of ingredients – with graphic evidence of the allergens present, also due to possible cross-contamination – is crucial news of health relevance for vulnerable categories of consumers (6,7).

The omission of such news, already detected in the past on various e-commerce platforms, (8) constitutes one of the most serious violations of the Food Information Regulation and is in fact subject to the most serious sanctions, even in Italy. (9)

3) Nutrition declaration

The nutrition declaration it is another mandatory information, in label and e-commerce. Reference is made to the previous article where the criteria to be followed for the purposes of its compilation and presentation are illustrated. (10)

Nutritional values declared on the product in question (Plum cake 45 g under the Feeling ok brand), however, do not appear consistent with the composition of the snack reported on the manufacturer's website, (11) as will be seen.

3.1) Ingredients and nutritional values ​​compared

The snack 'keto friendly' in question refers to the following ingredients (which, remember, must be listed in decreasing order of weight):

– wheat protein (GLUTEN), pea protein isolate, EGG white, WHEAT fibre, acacia fibre, MILK protein, BUTTER, flavourings: vanilla and lemon, olive oil, maltitol, erythritol, emulsifier: lecithin sunflower, e471, raising agents: sodium bicarbonate, sodium pyrophosphate.

The nutritional table per 100 g of product in turn refers to:

  • 24 g fat, of which 9 g is saturated fat
  • 15 g of dietary fibre
  • 28g of protein.

3.2) Mathematical analysis

Quantities of fats, fibers and proteins are, however, not compatible with the declared order of ingredients:

– olive oil is indicated after (chemical) flavourings. An irrelevant presence can be deduced for the purposes of the intake of saturated fatty acids (which it contains at a rate of 14%),

– butter therefore appears to be the almost exclusive source of the 9 g of saturated fatty acids declared. The presence of 18 g of butter (approximately 50% saturated fat) in 100 g of product is therefore estimated,

– however, the same butter is listed in seventh place among the ingredients. This means that each of the first six ingredients is present in quantities greater than 18 g.

3.3) Impossible accounts

The accounts don't add upIn fact they are impossible. Seven ingredients at 18% or more each add up to approximately 130% of the formula. And even if the loss of humidity following the process is considered, (12) it is noted that:

– the three proteins indicated in quantities greater than 18%, even if they had a content of 70%, (13) should exceed 38 g. To which add 2 g of protein from egg whites (which contains 10,7% and is mentioned among the first six ingredients)

– the two dietary fibres, in turn cited as having a content greater than 18%, would express at least 36 g of fibre.

4) Provisional conclusions

The responsability of offline and online sellers (e-commerce), in both cases of omitted or untrue mandatory information, is still underestimated although expressed in very clear terms by the Food Information Regulation (EU) No 1169/11. (14)

Tolerance insufficient (or excessive, depending on the circumstances) on the nutritional values ​​covered nutrition claims e health claims, it is worth remembering, is zero. (15) And false declarations in these regards can constitute the crime of fraud on the market, as has been observed in the cases of protein bars with protein contents well below those declared. (16)




(1) Foodamia. Plum cake 45 g Feeling ok Start 1 (accessed on 19.1.24)

(2) Dario Dongo. Online sales of food, labeling and language. The lawyer Dario Dongo answers. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements).

(3) See note 9 to the previous article by Dario Dongo. Greedflation and shrinkflation, survey in the UK. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(4) Regulation (EU) No 1169/11, articles 9 and 10

(5) In the case of food supplements, see the previous article 'Online sale of food supplements, what rules? The lawyer Dario Dongo answers'. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements).

(6) Dario Dongo. Ingredient List, ABC. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(7) Dario Dongo. Controls, the role of the health administration. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(8) Marta Strinati. Ecommerce in the dark. Three reports to the Antitrust. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(9) See Dario Dongo's ebook. 1169 PENALTIES - EU Reg. 1169/11. News on foods, controls and sanctions (Wiise benefit, Rome, 2018). ISBN: 8894200434

(10) Dario Dongo. Nutrition declaration on the label. The ABC's of EU rules. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements).

(11) Plum cake 45 g Feeling ok. Feelingok shop (accessed 19.1.24)

(12) Dario Dongo. The QUID of foods that lose moisture. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements).

(13) Whey proteins, replies lawyer Dario Dongo. DO (Food and Agriculture Requirements).

(14) Dario Dongo. The responsibilities of the large-scale retail trade. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(15) Dario Dongo. Nutrition and health claims, what tolerances on the declared values? GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade).

(16) Dario Dongo, Marta Strinati. Protein bars, 2 out of 3 contain less protein than claimed. Our investigation. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

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