Additives and labelling
Food labels must give full and accurate information on ingredients
and avoid misleading claims. They must also list food additives
such as preservatives, stabilisers and colouring, which are strictly
controlled. Food law is harmonised within the European Union, so
that healthy eating and consumer choice are combined with fair competition.
Working Party on Food Additives
Review of Current Research Projects.
Papers presented to the Working Party at its meeting on 3 November
We have made available on our Website a statement
on aspartame and the following Foodsense Factsheets on food
Other MAFF Additives Factsheets :
Factsheet 11 :
Food Additives Studies and Reports - Access to Information
Factsheet 12a :
Intolerance to Foods, Food Ingredients and Food Additives
Available from :
Mr Andrew Sewart,
P.O. Box 30077
80 London Road
London SE1 6XZ
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7972 1611
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Better Food Labelling initiative
This listening exercise has been launched by Food Safety Minister
Baroness Hayman to hear what individual consumers would like improved
in food labelling. It aims to involve consumers in the earliest
stages of the consultative process which will feed into future plans
for the direction of food labelling policy.
Comments are invited from consumers on all labelling issues that
they are concerned about, including methods of production, nutrition
advice, health claims etc.
Comments can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by post to Helene Hayman, Better Food Labelling,
MAFF, FREEPOST LON15319, LONDON SE8 5BP.
The deadline for comments is 20 March 2000.
The following questions could be used as a starting point for comments:
- What information do you want to see on food labels? The following
are some examples.
- Whats in food (additives, genetically modified ingredients
and so on)?
- How is it made?
- Where does it come from?
- How much fat, calories, salt and so on does it contain?
- Where and how do you want to see information on the label (in
other words, all together in one place, always presented in the
same way and so on)?
- What information on the label is most important to you and
- Is any label information unnecessary or misleading? If so,
- What sort of information should be given for food that is not
- If the label makes a claim about the food (for example, it
says its low fat), should this be controlled? How should
these claims be controlled?
Activities planned during the next couple of months include:
- funding independent consumer research into the views of a representative
cross-section of shoppers;
- distributing leaflets in supermarkets;
- opening a page on the MAFF website, www.maff.gov.uk;
- holding an open meeting on 2 March for consumers and consumer
groups to debate the issues (numbers will be limited and places
given on a first come basis).
In April the Food Standards Agency will take responsibility for
food labelling. It will be for the Agency to take on board the views
expressed from the Better Food Labelling initiative. This will form
the basis for building a long-term strategy on food labelling. The
Government will act on the advice of the Agency. New national rules
may be brought in where this is possible. Self-regulatory initiatives
and improved advice on the use of food labels could also be encouraged.
Where changes to international standards and European Union rules
are needed, the Agency will press for those changes to be made.
For more information see the background,
further issues and current
rules and regulations.
The report of the Better Food Labelling
initiative's Open forum on 2 March has been published in pdf
Validation of Generic Health Claims
In the UK and internationally a number of initiatives are underway
which aim to ensure that health claims for foods are soundly based
and not misleading, thus enabling consumers to make informed choices
about the foods they purchase. This briefing
the evidence and issues surrounding the use of certain generic health
claims within the context of current dietary guidelines and the
most recent advice available from international public health bodies,
and in particular, the UK Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and
Nutrition Policy. The views expressed in the report are those of
the author and should not be considered as a statement of JFSSG
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This page was last updated 28 January 2000