Microsoft word - food update - the food information regulation.docx
The Food Information Regulation (“the Regulation”) was finally published in December 2011. The Regulation is to be binding in its entirety and directly applicable to all Member states. It applies to food business operators at all stages of the food chain, where their activities concern the provision of food information to consumers, including food intended for supply to mass caterers.
It is hoped that the Regulation will simplify the existing rules relating to food labelling throughout the EU, by placing them all in one single piece of legislation. The new law combines 2 existing Directives: 2003/13EC – labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs and 90/496/EEC - nutrition labelling for foodstuffs. Although the Regulation came into force at the end of last year, there are lengthy transition periods, which mean that the majority of the requirements will not come into force until 2014 and the remainder in 2016.
The main changes to food labelling requirements will include:-
Country of origin – although subject to further discussion the introduction of mandatory origin information for most fresh and frozen meat, which will include pig, sheep, goat and poultry.
Labelling clarity – minimum font size for mandatory information, this will be calculated on the size of the label.
Allergy information – provided on all foods (whether sold pre-packed or loose). This will include food sold in restaurants.
High caffeine content drinks - warning label of caffeine content quoted.
Added water content (meat and fish products) shown in the name of foods, if they contain more than 5% added water.
The trade press are predicting significant cost implications for businesses as a result of the labelling changes. However the lengthy transition period does allow time to plan label changes over the next three years. The aim of the legislation is for a simpler process which is easier for both business and consumers alike, by providing consistent labelling across the EU. As with all new legislation only time will tell the impact it will have and the true extent of the costs involved.
In the meantime if you would like more detailed information on the Food Information Regulation and how it will affect your business and in particular advice on your labelling requirements please contact Lisa Gilligan.
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this bulletin, it does not provide complete coverage of the subjects referred to, and it is not a substitute for professional legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
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