FIC countdown: Most food companies are moving toward compliance
With just weeks left before the law comes into effect on December 13, GS1 UK and Campden BRI have published the results of their latest analysis of product compliance among UK companies. It found the industry was moving in the right direction, with 11 out of 20 randomly sampled products now complying with the regulation, compared to four in 20 back in April and eight out of 20 in its July survey.
“This series of reports has shown encouraging signs that industry is moving toward compliance,” said Gary Lynch, CEO of supply chain standards company GS1 UK, although the firm said there were still particular areas causing problems.
“This is a costly and complex exercise for many, but food and drink businesses have been taking it very seriously,” he said, adding that the regulation would ultimately be good for business, as consumers will gain a greater understanding of the food products they buy.
‘Thousands of product lines’
Although the analysis found increasing compliance with the new law when looking at a sample basket of foods, the results showed variations in compliance among larger companies.
“This is to be somewhat expected, with larger companies potentially having to work through thousands of product lines running right up to the deadline,” GS1 UK said.
The FIC regulation entirely replaces current general EU labelling rules, which have been in place since 2000 via a labelling directive. They will require mandatory, revamped nutrition labelling, replacement of GDAs (guideline daily amounts) with RIs (reference intake), and FIC also adds new rules for allergen labelling, legibility, and ingredient origin labelling, among many other changes.
The nutrition labelling deadline, for example, is December 13 this year for most, but there are extended time limits for others – mainly SMEs.
Putting processes in place for the future
“While we are confident that most will achieve compliance in time, that is only the beginning – getting the processes in place to ensure it is maintained for all product changes and new launches will be a key consideration,” Lynch said.
The analysis also found increasing compliance with areas of the FIC rules that have attracted the most debate in recent months, including allergen labelling and wheat flour fortification.
Even with very little time remaining, non-compliance at this stage does not necessarily mean that companies will miss the deadline, as they may be taking advantage of the transition time allowed to phase in the new rules, or carefully planning the switchover to minimise wastage.
Click here to read more about what the new legislation will mean for your business.
Click here to see the full Campden BRI/GS1 UK report.