Consumers in Scotland will receive far clearer information about the origins of their food, the Scottish government has pledged, after launching a new partnership yesterday (February 11) to deliver that promise.
The new partnership – led by Scottish Government and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) – will include industry and consumers to drive forward improvement on food labelling.
Food labelling is the subject of a free one-hour webinar to be staged by the Food Manufacture Group at 11am GMT on Thursday February 20. See below for more details.
Speaking ahead of the creation of Scotland’s new food body, Richard Lochhead, food minister, pledged to prioritise food labelling.
‘I will ensure improving labelling is a priority’
“I will ensure improving labelling is a priority for Scotland’s new food body, when it is established next year,” said Lochhead. “But, in the meantime, it is really important that work is taken forward now to address the frustrating and damaging issue of misleading labelling information.”
Scottish consumers have a strong appetite for home-grown produce, he added. A recent survey revealed that more than 90% wanted to see Scottish-branded red meat on supermarket shelves. “But far too often they simply do not know what they are buying – where it comes from and exactly what it is – and that is not good enough.
“That is why I am launching a clear labelling initiative which will involve the Scottish government working with the Food Standards Agency, industry and, above all, consumers to deliver greater clarity and transparency for the shopper.”
Lochhead said he would not pre-judge what consumers want to see on food labels. But he wanted to ensure shoppers knew what says Scottish is actually Scottish. There will be “no ‘small print’ hiding away the true origin of the food they purchase”, he said.
‘The scourge of misleading information’
“I am absolutely determined to tackle the scourge of misleading information. It’s not complicated, it’s incredibly simple; consumers must know what they are eating and where it comes from.”
Meanwhile, mandatory food labelling changes – set out in the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (FIR) – will be enforced from December 13 2014. Free advice to check the preparedness of your food and drink manufacturing business will be on offer at the Food Manufacture Group’s free, one-hour webinar at 11am GMT on Thursday 20 February.
Speakers taking part in the webinar – Food Information to Consumers Regulation: what you need to know – will be Alasdair Tucker, head of regulatory affairs at Premier Foods and chairman of the Food and Drink Federation’s Food Law & Labelling Committee, Steve Spice, head of regulatory affairs at Campden BRI, Corinne Lowe, joint lead officer food and nutrition, Trading Standards Institute and Dominic Watkins, partner and head of food group DWF.
Reserve your free place at this one-hour webinar here . There is no limit on the number of registrations.