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Firms face early adopters’ penalty for FIR label changes

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

Food and drink manufacturers who have taken early action to comply with the EU’s new food labelling legislation could face an early adopters’ penalty, if their label changes are superseded by new rules. 

In this wide-raging video interview – filmed after the Food Manufacture Group’s food labelling webinar​ earlier this month – Dominic Watkins, head of food group and partner with law firm DWF, explained the pitfalls of early adoption.

Some legislation – setting out manufacturers’ obligations under the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (FIC) – has yet to be published, he said. “You’re potentially going to have to change packaging again ​[at a potential cost of £3,500 per product]. “It’s a vast amount of money to change things again and early adopters could be penalised.”  

‘Penalised for being an early adopter’

Watkins said many firms had introduced FIR compliant packaging already. “Many could find themselves almost being penalised for being an early adopter, if these changes come through.”

The FIC legislation will be known as FIR when implemented in the UK after the December 13 deadline.

Watkins went on to explain why complying with the new legislation could prove a “scary prospect” ​for many firms and answered three key questions about the new rules. Those were: have the authorities done enough to explain the label changes, how rigorously will the rules be policed and precisely what questions remain to be answered?

Premier Foods

Alasdair Tucker, head of regulatory affairs at Premier Foods, told the webinar audience, the firm had made significant progress​ in ensuring the label compliance of its 2,000 branded stock keeping units and products in its own-label portfolio.

Meanwhile, if you missed the webinar – Food Information to Consumers Regulation: what you need to know – sponsored by DWF – you can listen at any time, after registering here​.

Watch out for more reports from the webinar about how the legislation will be enforced and what new rules have yet to be published.

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