In December 2014 the European Union's new food information regulation (FIR) comes into effect. The main topics of the new laws basically revolve around food labelling and the importance of clearly identifying what is within your food products whether you are using packaging or not. This stretches from what ingredients can be found within the food itself to the products title, for example: “Fiery Chicken Wrap”.
Ensuring your food packaging is FIR compliant
From the 13th December 2014, by law all food packaging must meet the new requirements. Key aspects within the new FIR are outlined as follows:
Customers must be made aware of any one of 14 potential allergens:
- Soy Beans
- Sesame Seeds
- Sulphur Dioxide and Sulphites
- Lupin and Molluscs
It is important to understand that the responsibility of displaying all the required information is divided between two distinguishable categories, both of which the laws apply differently. As a business it is important for you (employer and employees) to know what is required of you.
Reduced Labellers: If you create and produce fresh food products either on your premises or if you sell directly from a van, group of vehicles or other premises as part of your business, then you fall within this category.
Responsibility: Although responsible for identifying the above allergens, businesses within this category are not required to display the information on the packaging itself. Instead favourable practices are: on a clear easy-to-read sign, menu or leaflet. Of course as a reduced labeller you are welcome to identify them on the packaging itself, it is just not legally required at present.
Full Labellers: Anyone who does not fall within the Reduced Labellers category will be a Full Labeller, this includes anyone that buys in from another provider but then sells under their own brand or name.
Responsibility: All 14 allergens must be clearly identified on the packaging itself and most importantly within the ingredients list. It is recommended that appropriate formatting should be applied to the packaging in order to clarify the ingredients and highlight any potential allergens found within.
FORMATTING & FONT SIZE:
New rules within the FIR state that all text based information must be of a certain minimum size as to enable customers to clearly identify what is within the food. Although all font types are different sizes, the guidelines are as follows:
All text must be equal to or greater than 1.2mm when working from the letter ‘x’.
For example: The lowercase letter ‘x’ within the font Arial must be no smaller than 6pt.
Be aware that your current packaging may not meet these regulations. We recommend you check with either your design team or a design professional to ensure your packaging will meet the requirements when they come into force on 13th December 2014.
Ensure that your packaging is clear, concise and offers clarity to the customer in terms of what the product actually is. Although using gimmicks and descriptive jargon can be a useful promotional/advertising tool, you must ensure your do not mislead your customers, for example: ‘Fiery Chicken Wrap’, may sound intriguing but it is not clear what fiery means…hot, very hot, spicy, chargrilled etc.
As part of the new FIR all businesses that are classed as Full Labellers will be required by law to list the following nutritional data in the following order:
PER 100g in Tabular Form
- Energy Value
ORIGIN OF FOODS:
As of 13th December 2014, certain foods must be clearly identified stating their place of origin. This is to ensure customers are not mislead into believing their food may be from one source or country when in fact it is from another. This includes the following products:
- Unprocessed Meats – Pigs, Cows, Sheep, Goat and Poultry
- Olive Oil
UPDATING YOUR PACKAGING?
We can supply pretty much any label of any shape or size, including: domed labels, computer labels, beer/water/wine/cider labels, cheese labels, window stickers, thermal labels, hot foil labels....you get the idea! We can print on the label face, the backing paper or even on the adhesive! And we can offer a number of finishes such as on the roll, fanfold, or sheeted. So whatever your custom label requirement, please contact us for a no obligation quotation.
Looking for bespoke custom printed self-adhesive labels? We do those too!
The EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. This means that the transition process has begun to replace the current food labelling regulations.
For more information please see the Food Standards Agency website: https://www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/regulation/fir
The information provided here is intended as guidance only and should not be mistaken for legal advice.