Campden BRI, food and drink research and services, has seen a surge in companies looking for advice on the European Union’s Food Information to Consumers (FIC) Regulation and how to comply with the impending deadline.
The (FIC) Regulation was introduced on December 13, 2011, and introduces changes that will mean almost every food and drink label will need a major overhaul before the end of 2014.
Ruth Price, principal food law adviser, Campden BRI, told FoodProductionDaily, when the FIC Regulation came into force in 2011 the application date of December 2014 seemed remote, but, with one year to go time is running out and many companies are contacting the organisation.
“The pressure is on for food labels to become compliant. Not surprisingly this is a complex area,” she said.
“There are certain exemptions to the general requirements and there are exceptions to these exemptions. There are also a series of transition periods and implementing regulations that are still awaited that will lay down additional rules to be observed.
“Among the key changes are those relating to the provision of mandatory nutrition labelling. Changes relating to the use of voluntary allergen advice boxes is causing the most enquiries.”
To give the industry a chance to ask more questions about the FIC, Campden BRI has organised a discussion at its Food Labelling seminar on January 30.
The programme includes presentations and Q&A sessions with officials responsible for regulation and enforcement, representatives of the retail industry, and industry and legal experts.
“Both the FIC Regulation and the EU Framework on health and nutrition claims have major implications for the food and drink industry across Europe,” added Price.
The key issues that will be addressed at the seminar include: Country of Origin labelling; Food authenticity strategy and policy; Health claims and marketing strategies and Meeting the challenges of FIC implementation and enforcement.
Price said owing to the number of requests its food law advisors had received its advice can take on many forms.
“Some companies prefer to opt for a full label review and submit artwork for comment,” she added.
“Label reviews in particular can be conducted at any stage in the product development cycle right through to the finished artwork and are an effective way to forewarn of potential difficulties and suggest practical alternatives to becoming fully compliant.
“The production and marketing of food and drink is extensively regulated and understanding and applying the many and varied controls can be challenging for the food industry.”
Campden BRI is UK independent membership-based organisation. It provides technical support to the food, drinks and allied industries and serves 2,000+ member companies and other clients in over 65 countries.