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Industry and retail unite to clarify ‘complex’ labelling law

By Kacey Culliney , 16-Sep-2013

Harmonised EU-wide understanding on food labelling requirements and responsibilities is paramount, say EuroCommerce and FDE
Harmonised EU-wide understanding on food labelling requirements and responsibilities is paramount, say EuroCommerce and FDE

FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) has teamed up with European retail association EuroCommerce to provide clarity on new EU labelling laws set for the end of next year.

Manufacturers and retailers will need to abide by pan-European labelling on nutrition information, origin labelling, legibility and allergens among other issues from December 13, 2014, under the upcoming provision of food information for consumers (FIC) regulation.

To aid common understanding on requirements between industry and retailers, the FDE and EuroCommerce have launched an online guidance brochure.

“The new labelling Regulation 1169/2011 is a complex piece of legislation and requires some significant changes compared to the way products are currently labelled,” said a spokesperson for FDE.

“Furthermore, as the legal text leaves room for interpretation, it is important for food business operators to have a common understanding so that as much consistency as possible can be strived for,” he told FoodNavigator.

Clear, concise breakdown

The online guide provides a breakdown of some of the key issues industry and retailers are set to face – nutrition and country of origin labelling, legibility, allergen labelling and other issues like weights and measures, net quantity and date of freezing to added water.

EuroCommerce president Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe said a uniform EU-wide understanding on food labelling requirements and responsibilities was paramount.

“The joint development of such guidance by FoodDrinkEurope and EuroCommerce is a prime example of manufacturers and retailers coming together in a constructive way to tackle a common issue,” she said.

The FDE agreed that a harmonised and consistent approach is not only of benefit to manufacturers and retailers, but also benefits consumers.

“As manufacturers and retailers are the main food business operators that are principally involved in the implementation of the new rules on their labels, it is important to have a common understanding of the way this should be done for key aspects of the EU regulation,” the spokesperson said.

SMEs to benefit from guidance

Small-to-medium-sized enterprises in Europe should particularly benefit from the online guidance, the FDE said.

“SMEs do not always have the in-house expertise or resources to understand how to comply with the new rules,” its spokesperson added. “We hope that the guidance makes it at least somewhat easier to understand the key requirements of the EU regulation.”

The full report is available HERE .

Correction: This article has been amended since it was first published to reflect that the deadline for implementation of the new rules is December 2014, not December 2013, as originally stated.

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