New European Union Food Labelling Rules

UK - A raft of new European Union food labelling rules come into force this Sunday. As far as British pig-keepers are concerned the most important is mandatory origin labelling for fresh pork.
calendar icon 12 December 2014
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This is something pig producers have sought for more than a decade. It's particularly important at present because continental pigmeat is so much cheaper than its British counterpart.

No decision has been taken yet on mandatory origin labelling of processed pork products, but it is important to note that under existing European Union law these products must be labelled with country of origin or place of provenance if its absence could mislead consumers.

The new rules introduced this Sunday are the result of years of work to improve transparency for shoppers in a way that is manageable for food businesses.

Key Changes

Mandatory origin information for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry.

in future, when consumers want to buy British, they will be able to trust what it says on the front of the pack. If they have any doubts, they can check the mandatory description on the back, which should read: "Origin: United Kingdom" or " Origin: Reared and slaughtered in the United Kingdom".

Improved legibility of information (minimum font size for mandatory information).

Clearer and harmonised presentation of allergens (eg. soy, nuts, gluten, lactose) for prepacked foods (emphasis by font, style or background colour) in the list of ingredients.

The same labelling requirements whether shoppers are buying online or from a shop, and clear indication of "formed meat" or "formed fish".

The new meat origin rules enter into force on 13 December, with implementing rules taking effect on 1 April, 2015. Rules relating to mandatory nutritional labelling for processed food will apply from December 2016. Q&As

Charlotte Rowney

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