Clearer Food Labelling for Consumers

UK - Shoppers will be able to make more informed decisions at the tills due to food labelling rule changes.
calendar icon 8 November 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

Manufacturers will have to bring in clearer and more honest food labelling on the country of origin of meat, allergen advice and whether the product contains palm oil.

The government demanded stronger labelling across the whole of the EU, and is now putting the EU rules into action in the UK.

Food and Farming Minister, David Heath, said: “The government is tightening up rules to make it easier for shoppers to make more informed decisions for themselves and their families at the tills.

“We fought long and hard in Europe for more honest labelling so that people can make up their own minds about what they eat.

“We are making it easier for consumers to know what’s in the food and drink that they buy, while at the same time cutting red tape for businesses.”

As part of the Food Information Regulations consultation, the Government is legislating to ensure:

  • that 14 pieces of legislation are consolidated into one;
  • Several national requirements are removed, simplifying the regulations for businesses;
  • caterers and restaurateurs can provide allergen advice to customers verbally; and

These regulations enforce the European regulation on food labelling where rules are made to ensure:

  • consumers are told where their meat is from by providing Country of Origin Labelling (subject to Commission rules);
  • information is written in minimum font size that is easy to read on labels;
  • that food containing nanomaterial ingredients needs to state that clearly on the label;
  • that businesses state the plant origin of the oil in the product, for example palm oil;

Costs will be kept to a minimum by ensuring industry has a reasonable period of time to implement the changes. This means that rather than having to immediately re-label every single product to comply with the law, businesses can absorb the legislative requirements into their planned re-labelling cycle.

There are still some final decisions to be made about how to implement these Food Information Regulations and the Government is asking businesses and interested people to join the conversation and respond to the consultation.

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