Food Law News - UK - 2010
FSA Letter (ENF/E/10/045), 30 November 2010
ADMINISTRATION - Transfer of Work on Food Labelling & Standards: Policy split between FSA and Defra; and Contact Points for Nutrition Work transferred to Department of Health
Following the recent Machinery of Government changes I thought it would be helpful to clarify the role of the Food Standards Agency in relation to food labelling and food composition, where this is not related to food safety.
From September 2010, Defra became responsible for policy on labelling and for non-food safety issues. The Agency continues to lead on food safety aspects of labelling and related enforcement issues, and will retain the current arrangements for liaison with food authorities in relation to food law enforcement (e.g. the Food Law Code of Practice), including now acting as a link for work that transfers to Defra.
The details of these changes are included in the Annex 1 below.
In England the policy on nutrition issues has now transferred to Department of Health. This includes regulations on food supplements, health claims and dietetic foods (parnuts). The current arrangements for liaison with food authorities in relation to enforcement of these issues will remain and any enforcement queries should be passed to the Agency. We will act as a link for this work that transfers to the Department of Health. If you have any queries regarding the enforcement of the legislation associated with these issues, please contact the Agency.
Enforcement Officers are encouraged to discuss specific enquiries in the first instance within their local authority or food group. Any unresolved queries can then be registered on the Food Standards and Labelling Community of Practice, which has been established by LG Regulation to enable local authorities to share experiences, promote best practice and resolve issues or queries. Any outstanding queries, or concerns can be escalated to LG Regulation for discussion with the Agency.
No doubt it will take some time for the new arrangements to bed in, but in the meantime if colleagues have any questions about the new arrangements, or would like to refer enforcement issues to the Agency please contact us through the food standards e-mail address: Standards.firstname.lastname@example.org
Transfer of Work on Food Labelling & Standards:Policy split between FSA and Defra
Food Standards Agency responsibility for food safety aspects of labelling, covering:
- Expert scientific advice on the food safety aspects of date/durability marking
- Assessment of the labelling of ingredients and foods where there may be food safety implications (e.g. allergens, aspartame, glycols, high caffeine, high glycyrrhizinic acid)
- Food safety aspects of organic foods
- Food safety standards relating to bottled water and other foods controlled by compositional standards (e.g. uranium limits in bottled drinking water)
- Treatments and conditions of use with food safety implications (e.g. quick frozen foods, raw drinking milk and pasteurisation)
- Food contact materials (with input from Defra on any non-food safety labelling aspects)
- GM and novel foods (including the use of nanotechnology) (with input from Defra on any non-food safety labelling aspects)
- Animal feed, including Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Animal Feeding
- EU General Food Law regulation, including traceability of food and feed
- Codex Committees on Food Hygiene, Methods of Analysis and Sampling, Food Additives, Contaminants in Foods
- Irradiated foods (with input from Defra on any non-food safety labelling aspects)
- Choking hazards
- Leading on feed and food safety incidents including misleading labelling, food authenticity and food fraud with possible food safety implications
- Input to Ad hoc Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance, for which VMD is the lead
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Defra will continue to cover labelling elements of its existing portfolio such as welfare, marketing standards and eco labelling. It will, additionally, now deal with labelling where this does not relate to food safety or nutrition. This will cover:
- General lead on EU negotiations and legislation for all non-safety aspects of food labelling, except for nutrition.
- lead on the current EU Food Information proposal (with input from FSA/DH on safety and nutrition elements) – this includes all aspects of Ministerial advice, impact assessment, stakeholder liaison (apart from guidance to local authorities – see above)
- country of origin labelling and protected food names
- food composition standards and labelling including fruit juice and fruit nectars, jams and similar products, specified sugar products, coffee and chicory extracts, honey, cocoa and chocolate products, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, condensed and dried milk, bread and flour, spreadable fats and bottled water – to include development of international and national standards and codes of practice
- use of marketing terms e.g. natural, fresh, clear labelling, vegan and vegetarian labelling and labelling relating to religious slaughter
- labelling of alcoholic drinks
- application of labelling rules to loose foods
- distance selling of foods
- food authenticity and fraud without a food safety aspect
- consumer interests in relation to food assurance schemes
- Codex Committees for: Food Labelling, Processed Fruits and Vegetables, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Fats and Oils, Fish and Fishery Products, Europe, General Principles
- lead on Codex Alimentarius Commission, General Principles and Coordinating Committee for Europe
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