Your Guide to Danish Food Labels

In Denmark and in the EU there are a lot of initiatives and laws that make things easy for us consumers. There are several labels on the products we purchase that can help us figure out what the product contains and/or how it’s been made.

These labels can be quite confusing if you’re new in Denmark (and they can also be quite confusing even if you aren’t). In this post we’re breaking down 16 different labels that can be important to know when you’re shopping. Most of them are made to categorize foods but there are also a few related to other products.

 

The European Union’s Organic Label ~ EUs økologimærke 

Within the European Union there are common rules for organic and ecological food – that’s why this label has been made. All organic foods that is packaged within the EU has to be labeled. Note that it is possible (and very likely) that a product has both the common EU label and also the specific Danish organic label.

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The Ø-Label ~ Ø-mærket

This is the Danish organic label. It means that there’s been used less artificial pesticides and there’s a limit to the number of additives allowed. Products with this label are being checked to meet the standards on a regular basis.
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The Keyhole Label ~ Nøglehulsmærket

This label identifies healthier food products within a product group. It is a label that helps consumers choose healthier products. Foods carrying this label contain less fat, sugars and salt and more dietary fibre than food products of the same type not carrying the symbol. The Keyhole is a common Nordic label for foods in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
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The Fairtrade Label ~ Fairtrade-mærket 

This label is an international label that can be put on products that are produced under sustainable trade and labor conditions. The idea is that those producing the products will have a fair minimum wage and good labor conditions.
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The Whole Grain Label ~ Fuldkornsmærket

Products like flour, bread, cereal and pasta with a lot of whole grain can get this label. While containing a lot of whole grain it must also contain less fat, sugar and salt. Whole grain is to be prioritized because it contains a lot of fibers, protein and vitamins.
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The Halal Label ~ Halal-mærket

This label is not mandatory to put on any products, but it shows that the product has been produced according to specific religious rules so that it can be eaten by Muslims. The meat is not allowed to be in contact with non-halal meat during the transportation, storing or production. The actual label may vary, this is one example of how it can look.
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The 6 A Day Label ~ 6 om dagen-mærket 

This label is the result of a Danish campaign by the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark. It’s been made to remind us to eat at least 6 (or 600g of) fruits and/or vegetables a day. The label includes both fresh, frozen and preserved fruits and vegetables (potatoes are not included though).
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Recommended by the Animal Protection ~ Anbefale af Dyrenes Beskyttelse

This is a label created by Dyrenes Beskyttelse (a Danish organization that works for the wellbeing of our animals). Meat and eggs from approved producers can be given this label.
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The Animal Welfare Label ~ Dyrevelfærdsmærket 

This label also enforces the wellbeing of our animals. It’s a guarantee that the pigs have had better circumstances to live under than pigs of traditional production. At this point this label is only for meat from pigs, but it’s expected to expand to more product groups later on. This product comes in three forms, 1, 2 or 3 hearts. The more hearts the better.

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The ASC Label ~ ASC-mærket 

This label is to acknowledge sustainable and environmental fishing.

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The FSC Label ~ FSC-mærket 

This label acknowledges responsible logging and can be put on wood products.

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The EU Flower Label ~ EU-blomsten

This label is reserved for products like shampoo, conditioner, soap and cleaning products that are environmentally sustainable.
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The GOTS Label ~ GOTS-mærket  

This label can be found on organic and sustainable clothes and textiles.

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The Swan Label ~ Svanemærket

This label is given to non-food products that live up to certain environmental demands.
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The Blue Wreath Label ~ Den Blå Krans 

This label is created by Astma-Allergi Danmark and it can be given to personal products (like skincare) and cleaning products that don’t contain any allergenic elements.

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The Smileys (Inspection Reports) ~ Smileyerne 

This label cannot be found on actual products but it must be in all stores/companies that either sell, produce or handle foods. They must have the smileys that show of which degree the company follows the rules of how food products must be handled. There are official inspections that are summarised in one of four more or less smiling smiley-faces. Companies with four happy smileys on their last four inspections are awareded an elite-smiley, that they can use for their marketing. The result of the inspections must be placed near the entrance of the establishment. All inspection reports are published at Find smiley.

 

Written by Laura Pilmark

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