The new Food Information Regulation (FIR), designed to make food labelling easier to understand for consumers, has been published by the European Union.
The regulation combines rules on general food and nutrition labelling into a single EU regulation (Food Information Regulation (FIR) (1169/2011). Transitional arrangements set out in the FIR mean that the bulk of the requirements will not apply until 2014, with nutrition labelling becoming mandatory in 2016.
The scope of the regulation includes a number of key issues including mandatory nutrition labelling on pre-packaged food, Country of Origin, date marking (including date of first freezing), clarity of food information, alcohol labelling, labelling of non pre-packed foods and allergen labelling.
Food labelling helps consumers to get information about their food. It is important this information is accurate and not confusing so consumers can make informed choices about the food they buy.
Legislation sets requirements for food labels in the UK and aims to ensure food labels are an honest presentation of food. The requirements in place ensure consistency for the industry and for consumers.
Clear food labelling guidance
The labelling legislation requires that product information on food labels to be easily visible and clearly legible. Information from consumers suggests that some people find labels difficult to use. To help industry improve the way in which information is presented on labels, Clear Food Labelling Guidance was developed to highlight some of the factors that affect label clarity. The aims are to assist industry with designing food labels for pre-packed foods in a clear way that allow consumers to access the information they need more easily, and to be aware of the relevant UK food labelling legislation for pre-packed foods.
For further business advice, see our self-help advice sheets. These will cover many of the questions that you have regarding a variety of topics such as sandwich labelling, meat products, labelling at caterers etc.
Adulterated foods, food alerts? - If there is a problem with a food product that means it should not be sold, then it might be 'withdrawn' (taken off the shelves) or 'recalled' (when customers are asked to return the product). The Food Standards Agency issues information about product withdrawals and recalls to let consumers and local authorities know about problems associated with food such as issues regarding the horsemeat scandal.
Last updated: 1.48pm on Thursday 13 September 2018