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Have your say on food labelling rules by 25th March 2021 | Ian Thomas Associates

Ian Thomas Associates

Have your say on food labelling rules by 25th March 2021

You can help determine the future of EU food labelling rules by engaging in the FSAI consultation on food labelling.

Accurate food information is vital for raising consumer awareness and for protecting consumers’ health and interests. It links into a wide range of policy areas such as healthy eating, obesity strategies and reduction of waste.

Food labels allow us to make informed choices about why we buy and why. They tell us what the food contains, whether it is ‘healthy’ (which may depend on consumer requirements), where it comes from, when it ‘goes out of date’ and whether it contains any substances that may cause allergic reactions.

Mandatory nutrition declarations provide information about energy, fat, saturates, sugars and salt but this normally appear on the back of pack but may also appear on the front of pack (e.g. in the form of a traffic light system. This consultation seeks views on whether food law should require harmonised mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling and how to make this clear and easy to understand. Setting nutrient profiles will be an important part of this process.

Information about the origin of food mandatory, for example where to omit it could mislead consumers and for certain foods such as; beef and other meats, fish, honey, olive oil and the primary ingredient of a food. The consultation seeks views on whether the list of foods that must indicate their origin should be extended to include other foods such as; milk, rice, durum wheat used in pasta and potatoes.

Finally, date marking has always raised issues for consumers. What do dates mean? A use by date relates to food safety whereas a best before date relates to food quality and where the food may still be safe to eat after the best before date has passed.

There is a clear link between date marking and food waste where food, that is still safe to eat but where the quality may have deteriorated, is thrown away. Preventing unnecessary food waste is one of the main priorities of the EU’s Farm to Food Strategy.

The FSAI consultation, comprising a series of 13 questions, can be found at:

https://www.fsai.ie/news_centre/press_releases/labelling_consultation_11022021.html

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