UK’s FDF opposes Europe-wide labelling regulations

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 12th April 2011

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has voiced its opposition to the introduction of regulations governing nutrient and guideline daily amount (GDA) labelling on food products at a European level.

Speaking at the FDF’s biscuit, cake, chocolate and confectionery (BCCC) sector group annual conference last week (6 April), BCCC chairman Nick Stuart said that the BCCC was working within European trade bodies to present a unified voice on such issues. With 85% of food legislation affecting UK companies coming from Brussels, Stuart insisted that it was vital for the UK food industry to voice its position on such issues in Europe.

“This is very important for our industry because some of the measures being proposed are quite Draconian,” he warned his audience.

Currently, debate in the EU on the labelling of guideline daily amounts (GDAs) is considering the stipulation that all products would carry GDAs on their labels and this could possibly be front of pack. However, Stuart argued that this would be an inappropriate measure for a number of products that come under the BCCC’s remit, such as gift boxes of chocolate.

On nutrient claims, Stuart insisted: “We are literally at last chance saloon here. If we are not allowed to say “zero salt” – if we are not allowed to tell consumers we have made some changes – what is the point?”

Meanwhile, he added that country of origin labelling regulations on ingredients would be problematic for the industry because suppliers change based on various factors – such as seasonality or price negotiations. The need to change labelling each time a new supply contract was negotiated could cost industry “millions of pounds”, Stuart warned.
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