Officially referred to as the ‘EU Food Information Regulations No 1169/2011’ or ‘FIR’ for short, these new laws have been released to streamline current labelling legislation across the whole of Europe and ensure consumers are provided with an informed choice when buying food. Existing rules on general food labelling will be combined with all nutritional regulations, making one universal piece of legislation that will become mandatory in late 2016. Also, the European Commission has indicated there are still some additional legislative requirements to be agreed that specifically relate to information on products, but no timescale has yet been provided as to when these new rules will be officially introduced. We keep ourselves updated from industry bodies to ensure that we have the most up-to-date guidance.
The biggest change is the introduction of a minimum font size for mandatory labelling text, along with mandatory nutrition information and the requirement to highlight allergens in the list of ingredients. For the first time rules have been introduced on the declaration of voluntary nutrition signposts. Certain product-specific requirements are also introduced, including minced meat regulations, flour fortification, so-called ‘imitation foods’ and nano ingredients.
These new regulations apply to any organisation that is involved with the food industry, from small scale manufacturers to mass caterers, meaning there has been widespread change to many food business operators and their processes.
Breach of these regulations can be a serious matter, potentially resulting in local or national product withdrawal, or criminal proceedings along with damage to brand reputation not to mention significant costs should an incident occur.
Celery is found in salads, some meat products, soups and stock cubes.
Lobsters, prawns and scampi are often used in Thai and chinese food.
Eggs are often found in cakes, pasta, salad dressing and mayonnaise.
Fish can be found in salad dressing, soup, pizzas, relishes and stock cubes.
Lupin is found in flour and can be used in some bread, pasta and pastries.
Milk can be found in butter, cheese, cream, ice cream and some sauces.
Sesame is often found in bread, hoummus, sauces, dressings and dips
Soya can be found in meat products, sauces, and vegetarian products.
Nuts are found in breads, deserts, ice cream and stir-fried dishes.
Peanuts are often used as an ingredient in cakes, curries and sauces.
Mustard can be found in curries, meat product and sauces.
Molluscs include mussels and squid which can be found in Sauces and soup.
Sulphur Dioxide can be found in dried fruit, vegetables, wine and beer.
Wheat, rye, barley and oats are often found in flour used in break and cakes.