Industry prepares for new EU labelling rules

Food businesses are gearing up for the implementation of new labelling regulations which include the requirement to declare certain allergenic ingredients and to state the first date of freezing on products including meat.

The new EU Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (FIC), which comes into force on 13 December, requires that certain foods, including frozen meat and frozen meat preparations, state the day, month and year the product was ‘frozen on...’. However, according to a recent report by GS1 UK, many products are still missing these date requirements.

The 14 identified allergenic ingredients, including celery, eggs, mustard, soya and sulphur dioxide, which are used in non-prepacked or loose foods, must be declared either on a label, or on information such as a menu. As well as foodservice outlets, restaurants and delicatessens, catering establishments at schools, hospitals and prisons will also need to comply.

GS1 UK said that although the number of compliant businesses had increased since April this year, there were still a number that had not made the grade. The third in a series of quarterly reports evaluated a basket of 20 products, including prepared ready meals, and meat, with only 11 out of 20 complying at the time the research was collated – up from four out of 20 in April.

Gary Lynch, chief executive of GS1 UK, said: “This series of reports has shown encouraging signs that industry is moving toward compliance. This is a costly and complex exercise for many, but food and drink businesses have been taking it very seriously.”

From 1 April 2015, the requirement for the mandatory origin labelling of unprocessed fresh, chilled or frozen meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry, comes into effect.

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