The new rules specify significant changes to food labels, requiring manufacturers and retailers to make changes to the font sizes of labels and the way in which allergens are declared. Contravening the new rules – set out in the EU Food Information to Consumers (EU FIC) Regulation – could result in fines of more than £100,000 per product, own-label software company Trace One warned recently.
The five-point check list – issued by the manufacturers’ organisation Food and Drink Federation (FDF) – covers allergens, font size, nutrition information, vegetable oils and the origin of meat products. See the full checklist below.
FDF director of regulation, science and health Barbara Gallani said the wide-ranging changes to the layout and information contained within labels will simplify and harmonise some of the information available on-pack and help consumers to make the most of the information available.
“Food and drink labelling helps make informed purchasing decisions by enabling individuals to check, compare and choose between similar products,” said Gallani. “Consumers have long had access to considerable product information on-pack, including nutrition information which has been voluntarily provided by UK food and drink producers for nearly a decade.
“With its wide-ranging changes, the EU FIC has introduced the biggest change to on-pack labelling for the modern food industry and FDF members have been working to make sure that their product labels are compliant ahead of tomorrow’s deadline.”
Gallani said more information about the label changes was available from its ‘Food and drink labelling toolkit’.
Don’t miss the Food Manufacture Group’s free, one-hour webinar on the FIR label changes, staged in partnership with law firm DWF earlier this year.
The EU Food Information to Consumers (EU FIC) Regulation was published in the EU Official Journal in 2011. Since then, food and drink producers have been updating labelling across their product ranges ahead of tomorrow’s implementation deadline.
EU label changes checklist
- Allergens will now be emphasised in the ingredients list; statements such as ‘Contains: milk, nuts’ are no longer permitted on-pack, though precautionary labelling such as ‘May contain: milk, nuts’ will still be used
- A minimum font size has been set for mandatory information to increase legibility
- Nutrition information is now a mandatory requirement and will usually be provided on the ‘back of pack’. The nutrient content will always be shown per 100g. ‘Front of pack’ labelling remains voluntary and there are new requirements to increase consistency and aid usage
- The specific types of vegetable oils that are contained within a food or drink will now appear in the ingredients list
- From April 2015, labels will show the origin of unprocessed pig, sheep, goat and poultry meat on-pack following an extension of country of origin labelling