Three top tips to comply with new food labelling rules

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Label Existential quantification Food labeling regulations

Book your printer now, in order to ensure your business complies with the new food labelling rules, advised Campden BRI
Book your printer now, in order to ensure your business complies with the new food labelling rules, advised Campden BRI
Book your printer now, if you haven’t done so already, is one of three top tips from research organisation Campden BRI, delivered at the Food Manufacture Group’s webinar on the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (FIR).

Webinar speaker Stephen Spice, head of regulatory affairs at the organisation, said: “As regards my top tips for what should be going on now – you should certainly have got your printer booked. There will be capacity issues – not just within retailers but with printers.

“And there are only so many printers out there. By the December deadline, there will be an awful lot of labels that will need to be printed.”

His two other top tips were: update your labelling policies and electronic specification system and ensure training systems are in place.

All food and drink businesses should update their labelling policies to ensure they are compliant with the new FIC rules – to be known as FIR when enforced in law on December 13 2014, Spice told the webinar.

‘Doubles the cost’

“Have a look at your labelling policies make sure that they are FIC compliant – take some advice if necessary. Get them checked and signed off. If you get them wrong, you may have to do labelling twice, which, of course, doubles the cost.”

Once firms have started to produce new labels, he advised early checking to ensure they complied fully with the new labelling rules.

Electronic specification systems should also be brought up-to-date.

The final tip was to ensure training on the new labelling rules – both within your business and throughout your supply chains – was fully updated.

Campden BRI was gearing up to take more questions about the new labelling rules, as firms focused more clearly on compliance with the December deadline. The organisation had already seen a dramatic increase in the member enquiries over the past two years – with FIC compliance accounting for the bulk of them.

‘Hot topic among enquiries’

“The hot topics among enquiries to advisers are allergens, nutrition labelling – particularly front-of-pack labelling and country of origin labelling,”​ said Spice. “I personally would add mincemeat – that’s caused a lot of noise and foodservice and business-to-business managers seem to be asking questions as well.”

Spice said more explanation of the new rules was expected from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – set out in a statutory instrument – in April or May.  “We are hoping that these should provide some welcome clarity to some of the more contentious issues and we are looking forward, along with many other people, to see what’s in those documents.” 

Read why Campden BRI predicted the industry would face “a colossal cost”​ in complying with the new legislation here.

If you missed the webinar, simply register here​ and listen at a convenient time. There is no limit on the number of registrations.

The webinar – The Food Information to Consumers Regulation: what you need to know – was sponsored by law firm DWF.


FIR – some of the key changes

  • Allergens are to be highlighted in the ingredients list and allergen boxes can no longer be used.
  • Nutrition information on the back of pack is mandatory for most products but not everything. Sodium must be listed as salt. Fibre is optional.
  • Front-o- pack labelling is voluntary.
  • Stand-alone energy information can no longer be just stated as calories, it should be referred to as joules as well.
  • Defrosted: where there’s an impact on safety or quality, the word defrosted must appear in the title.
  • The added water threshold in meat products drops from 10% to 5%.
  • Frozen product labels must contain two dates: the expiry or durability date and the date of freezing.
  • Distance (online) selling: after December 2014, a lot more mandatory information must appear on the website.
  • Minimum font size on labels must be implemented.
  • Country of origin labelling rules for meat.
  • Labelling mincemeat.
  • Imitation foods.


Stephen Spice’s top three FIR tips

  • Book your printer now – if you haven’t done so already
  • Update your labelling policies and electronic specification system
  • Ensure training systems are in place.

Source: Stephen Spice

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