Food Law News - EU - 2012

DEFRA Interested Parties Letter (LRM 97), 20 February 2012

LABELLING - Implementation of the Council Regulation on the Provision of Food Information for Consumers (1169/2011)

This is the second half of a UK letter. This section relates to EU developments and is therefore provided here as an EU News Item. For the full letter, see UK News Item, 20 February 2012.

Ongoing work in Europe

The Regulation left a number of issues to be taken forward by the Commission. These include the detailed reports provided for by the Regulation on origin labelling, labelling of alcohol drinks and transfats.

The Commission’s current plans, as told to the team on 13 February 2012, are to contract a study to assess the impacts of mandatory origin labelling for fresh and frozen meat and of giving origin information when claims are made. The study will look at the impacts on labelling of having to give information such as on the places of birth, raising and slaughter. Once the impact assessment is complete, implementing rules will need to be developed. The Commission are currently scoping the study. They aim to complete it by the end of the year and start drafting implement rules after the study is complete.

There are a number of issues arising from the regulation where some clarification is needed. We are grateful to stakeholders for highlighting these, and we recognise that a common interpretation in Europe is important for trade. These areas include the repetition of mandatory information on a voluntary basis such as in allergy boxes, and where the provisions of the FIR have the potential to conflict with other regulations, for example where there are separate requirements for date of first freezing and defrosted labelling in sector-specific legislation. The Commission has indicated that there will be a series of meetings over the next few months to explore these issues at EU level. The aim will be to ensure consistency in understanding, and the outcome will be reflected in the England guidance. I will provide updates to interested parties on the outcomes of these discussions as they progress.

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