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Continuing confusion over EU food labelling legislation


With a mere ten months to go until EU legislation governing the rules around food labelling is implemented, food manufacturers are projecting concerns that the rules are still unclear.

An article published by earlier this month reported the growing worries of food producers and manufacturers, highlighting that these parties are uncertain of how to comply with rules that are to be enforced from December 13th 2014.

The UK government in particular is facing criticism for failing to make the changes and amendments to food labelling regulations clear to manufactures. Speaking to Food Manufacturer, Stuart Shotton, Consultancy Services Director of FoodChain Europe, said: “We don’t know how the rules are going to be enforced […] we are using our own interpretations of the EU rules and if the guidance contradicts this, then what does that mean?”

The new regulations have been outlined to make the nutritional information more accessible to consumers and to highlight important information like allergy warnings. In addition to specifying what information needs to be conveyed by packaging, the regulations will also determine things like minimum font sizes and how much nutritional information has to be displayed on the front of the product.

These changes will call for brands to undertake a major redesign of their packaging, to accommodate required information and styles. Packaging design companies like Adare Advantage, which produces a range of packaging for some of the UK’s top brands, will feel the pressure.

According to the UK Food Standards Agency website, the law will be introduced in 2014, but not made mandatory until 2016, giving businesses the opportunity to adapt to the new regulations before they face prosecution.

At present, the regulations for food labelling determines that manufacturers must include a list of ingredients, allergy warnings and recommend storage conditions. The biggest change will see allergy information merge with ingredients listings, a switch that critics propose will only serve to create confusion for consumers.

The pressure for authorities and governments to tackle ineffective food labelling is by no means limited to the EU or the UK. In Australian politics, the coalition government is facing its own criticism, based on accusations that ministers are attempting to delay the introduction of healthy food labelling.

You can read more on this story at The Guardian.

Submitted by: Adare Advantage