Revision of Food Labelling Guidance Notes

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 February 2000



Jukes, D. (2000), "Revision of Food Labelling Guidance Notes", British Food Journal, Vol. 102 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Revision of Food Labelling Guidance Notes

Revision of Food Labelling Guidance Notes

Proposed new guidelines on clearer and more informative labelling for the country of origin of foods have been issued for public consultation. Speaking at the Great British Food Conference Agriculture Minister Nick Brown announced:

I am determined to tackle the issue of misleading labels. I have three objectives:

  1. 1.

    To promote informed consumer choice by encouraging clearer origin information on food labels about the real place of origin - not just the place of processing or place of slicing but also, where it would be valuable, the origin of ingredients.

  2. 2.

    To clamp down on misleading place of origin descriptions.

  3. 3.

    In the longer term, to press for changes to international rules to ensure that consumers are given accurate and unambiguous information about the true origin of the foods they are buying.

The consultation letter seeks views on a proposal to amend the Food Labelling Regulations Guidance Notes to highlight the need to ensure that origin marking provides consumers with clear, accurate information. The proposal has been prompted by concerns that labelling which refers only to the place where a product has been processed can, in some cases, mislead as to the origin of the ingredients.

The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 currently require particulars of the place of origin or provenance to be given on the label of a pre-packed food where failure to do so might mislead the purchaser to a material degree about its true origin or provenance (Regulation 5(f)). This requirement implements a similar provision in the EU Food Labelling Directive (79/112/EEC). Guidance on the application of this requirement is provided in the Food Labelling Regulations Guidance Notes. The Minister wishes to strengthen the guidance notes to highlight the need to ensure that consumers are not misled by place of origin labels where they are provided.

The essential feature of the proposed new guidance is that it emphasises the need to pay special attention to the wording of origin declarations when the source of the main ingredients and the country of final processing may be confused. In these cases, it would be necessary to provide more specific or detailed labelling, including in some cases the origin of the ingredients. For example, imported pork cured in the UK would not be labelled as "British" or "Produced in Britain", but might be labelled as "produced in Britain from imported/country of origin pork".

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