Food Law News - UK - 2009

FSA Consultation Letter, 16 September 2009

LABELLING - Guidance Notes on labelling fat spreads, including margarine and butter (England)

A copy of the consulation package is available on this site. See: Draft Fats Guidance - Consultation

Responses are requested by: 9 December 2009

Consultation details

Who will this consultation be of most interest to?

Food manufacturers and industry engaged in the manufacture of dairy produce and vegetable / fat spreads; enforcement authorities; trading standards, Port health authorities and local authorities.

What is the subject of this consultation?

FSA guidance on the legal requirements on the rules for the compositional and labelling criteria for spreadable fats including margarine and butter.

What is the purpose of this consultation?

To formally seek stakeholders' comments and views on the draft updated guidance on the labelling of spreadable fats including margarine and butter.

We seek your views on draft Guidance Notes detailing the rules on the labelling and marketing of dairy produce and fat spreads set down in European Council Regulation (EC) No. 1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation). The Guidance Notes have been drafted to take account of the Anderson Review.

On 1 July 2008, Council Regulation 1234/2007 came into force - Council Regulations 1898/87 (on the protection of designations used in the marketing of milk and milk products) and 2991/94 (laying down standards for spreadable fats) were repealed and Statutory Instrument 2008 No. 1287: The Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) and the Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) (England) Regulations 2008 was brought into force (with similar legislation applying in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

Council Regulation 1234/2007 is directly applicable in the UK and enforcement provisions are included in national legislation.

SI No.1287 simply updated any references from Council Regulations 1898/87 and 2991/94 to the new Council Regulation 1234/2007. Therefore, the Agency did not hold a full formal consultation on the new SI or produce an Impact Assessment (IA)3 as there were no additional or incremental costs to the private or public sector. The Agency is not including an IA for the guidance notes subject to this consultation as the guidance will not add any new significant burdens to the private or public sector.

As a result of this legislative update, it has now become necessary to revise associated Guidance Notes. The draft Guidance Notes, subject to this consultation, set out to explain, principally, the rules on labelling fat spreads set down in Council Regulation 1234/2007.

The Guidance Notes also address relevant aspects of EC Directive 1019/2002, which lays out requirements for the labelling of foods containing olive oil, which would include some fat spreads.

The Agency has had meetings and discussions with LACORS and the leading spreadable fats trade organisation, the Margarine and Spreads Association. The consultation will run for 12 weeks. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the Agency with any comments or queries they may have. It is not envisaged that there will be any further consultations or formal correspondence on the subject matter.

Once all responses have been received, they will be addressed by the Agency and shall either be incorporated into the Guidance Notes or reasons will be given as to why comments have been rejected. This information will be published as a supplementary document and will appear on the Agency's website within three months.

Questions asked in this consultation:

Q1: Are you content with the layout and the subject matter contained in these Guidance Notes?

Q2: Is there any additional text or information you would like to see included? – Please provide detail and reasoning.

The Agency welcomes all comments and would particularly encourage industry and enforcement authorities to respond with their views and supporting detail.

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