New labelling provisions: no more small letters

By: trademagazin Date: 2014. 11. 12. 09:37

The European Union’s new food labelling regulation enters into force on 13 December 2014. Products will have to bear the name, allergen content and the ‘use by’ date.

 Bóza Balázs üzletágvezető SGS

Bóza Balázs

Minimum font size is stipulated so that users can easily read the information. Allergen content must also be indicated on products not pre-packaged, e.g. in restaurants and confectioneries too. The term Guideline Daily Amount is replaced with Reference Intake – companies can already decide to do so but this will only be mandatory for pre-packaged food products from 13 December 2016. According to Mária Fenyvesiné Bakos, head of WESSLING Hungary Kft.’s food safety team of experts, having to design new labels because of the bigger font size means extra costs for companies. For instance in the past product info was indicated on certain products in 8-10 languages – there mightn’t be enough space for this from 13 December. Confectionery and restaurant owners can inform customers about allergens in products verbally, on the menu or on small boards placed next to products in display cabinets. Pál Tóth, sales manager with Bizerba reckons that indicating allergens on food products may constitute a big challenge for both manufacturers and retailers. As for technological solutions, he believes the most cost-efficient one is reprogramming scales systems, so that they can print out allergen info on the label. Regulation 1169/2011 (EC) has already entered into force but will only be mandatory in two years time. This stipulates the standardised indication of nutrition information. Balázs Bóza, the head of consumer goods control at SGS told our magazine that more thorough and precise laboratory testing will be necessary than before to comply with the new rules. The expert opines that the source and origin sections of the new labelling provisions will have to be modified soon, in order to make them more specific and feasible. The National Food Chain Safety Authority (NÉBIH), the Hungarian Authority for Consumer Protection (NFH) and the National Public Health and Medical Officer Service (ÁNTSZ) will check whether the new labelling requirements are met. Fines can be imposed ranging from HUF 15,000 to HUF 2 billion

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