FSA Consultation Letter, 17 September 2009
A copy of the consulation package is available on this site. See: Draft Dairy Labelling Guidance - Consultation
Responses are requested by: 9 December 2009
Who will this consultation be of most interest to?
Food manufacturers/industry enforcement authorities: local authorities, trading standards officials, environmental health officers, port health authorities
What is the subject of this consultation?
FSA Guidance on the legal requirements on the rules for the use of dairy terms as set out by European Council Regulation (EC) No. 1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (the single Sommon Market Organisation Regulation).
What is the purpose of this consultation?
To formally seek stakeholder’s comments and views on the draft updated guidance and to gain comments on the Agency’s proposed assessment process for the derogation protocol.
We seek your views on draft Guidance Notes explaining the rules on the use of dairy designations set down in European Council Regulation 1234/2007 (establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets) and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (this European legislation is referred to as the Single CMO Regulation). The Guidance Notes also include an 'Assessment Protocol' to be used when assessing products for inclusion in the UK indicative list of non-dairy products that may use dairy terms.
The Guidance Notes have been drafted to take account of the Anderson Review.
The Guidance Notes explain the rules on the use of dairy designations as set down in European Council Regulation 1234/2007. They apply to all industries engaged in the manufacture and trade of dairy produce and dairy produce analogues.
On 1 July 2008, Council Regulation 1234/2007 (covering rules for the use of dairy terms and marketing standards for spreadable fats) came into force. This Regulation repealed Council Regulation 1898/87 (on the protection of designations used in the marketing of milk and milk products) and Council Regulation 2991/94 (laying down standards for spreadable fats). Council Regulation 1234/2007 is directly applicable in the UK.
At the same time in England, the two pieces of legislation, which transposed Council Regulations 1898/87 and 2991/94, were revoked (The Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) (England) Regulations 1999, and The Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) Regulations 1990). A new piece of legislation – The Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) and the Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) (England) Regulations 2008 was brought into force on 1 July 2008. This new Statutory Instrument combined the legal requirements previously found in the Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) (England) Regulations 1999, and the Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) Regulations 1990 and also provided the enforcement provisions for European Council Regulation 1234/2007. Similar legislation applies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
As the only significant change to legislation was to amend the reference to European Regulations, there were no significant incremental costs to the private or public sectors and an Impact Assessment (IA) was not produced, neither was a formal consultation held on the new SI. The Agency is not including an IA for the Guidance Notes subject to this consultation as the Agency does not believe that they will add any new significant burdens to the private or public sector. However, if as a result of responses received to this consultation, significant additional costs are identified, an IA will be produced and published.
The Guidance Notes introduce an Assessment Protocol for updating the UK indicative list of non-dairy products that may use dairy names. Products that have traditionally used dairy terms in their name, but are clearly non-dairy may qualify for derogation from the requirement that only dairy produce may use dairy terms. The aim of the Assessment Protocol is to set up a consistent method of assessment.
Currently assessments for derogation are at the discretion of enforcement authorities in conjunction with the Agency advice. There have been requests for a more consistent mode of assessment. To ensure uniform application of the derogation, the Agency has drafted the 'Assessment Protocol' (see Annex 1 of the guidance). The Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) Food Labelling Focus Group will use the Assessment Protocol to assess such products and this opinion will inform the Agency‟s decision on whether the product will be added to the UK list.
In developing the guidance the Agency has held meetings and discussions with LACORS.
This formal consultation will last 12 weeks. 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 website within three months of the close of the consultation.
Questions asked in this consultation:
Q1: Are you content with the layout and the subject matter contained in this guidance document:
a) Do you feel that this guidance will help you understand the requirements of Council Regulations 1234/2007?
b) Is there anything that you feel could be more clearly explained?
Q2: Is there any additional text or information you would like to see included? – Please provide detail and reasoning.
Q3: What are your views on the draft assessment protocol:
a) Do you envisage any problems or issues with this mode of assessment?
b) If you do not agree with this mode of assessment, what would you suggest as an alternative?
Q4: Will these guidance notes and/or the assessment protocol introduce any significant new costs to the private or public sector on top of reading and understanding? If so would you please provide details?