In its latest board meeting, the FSA outlined its pipeline for businesses to be complaint to its recently announced legislation for the labelling of products forced to substitute ingredients such as sunflower, whose supply had been disrupted due to the war in Ukraine.
Earlier this week, new guidelines from the standards body made it clear that products could only list the ingredients inside them and not all the potential substituted ingredients manufacturers have been forced to use.
“We are working towards an end-date of no later than 31 October 2022 by which we expect all businesses to have returned to compliance,” said the FSA. “Our guidance to local authorities would be amended accordingly to ensure that all production of food which contains a substituted oil not listed on the label should have ceased by that point in time.
Remaining on the market
“It should be noted that foods containing oils that have been substituted without labelling may remain on the market, so information for consumers should continue to be made available.”
The FSA recognised that setting an end date may create additional costs and disruption for some businesses that may need more time to comply or, at short notice, are not able to procure the ingredients and/or packaging necessary for compliance.
“We recognise the challenges for industry, but it is not possible or desirable to smooth or remove all of the impact of the conflict in Ukraine,” it continued. “It is overwhelmingly in the interests of consumers that labels are accurate, and we judge that industry has had reasonable time to adapt and prepare.
‘In line with other countries’
“This approach is also in line with available information about the approach in other countries where labelling flexibility has been granted.”
A final end-date will be agreed by the end of June, pending further consultation with the industry and agreed planning assumptions by the FSA about oil supplies and lead times for replacing labels and packaging.
“We will be keeping progress under review through our regular dialogue and engagement with industry, in partnership with Defra and local authorities who are keeping us informed on what is happening on the ground,” the FSA concluded.