Better Food Labelling leaflet lists some broad questions to get people thinking about the information given on labels. Consumers views are also welcomed on the following, more detailed questions:
What information should be required on all labels?
Under the Food Labelling Regulations 1996, the main requirements:-
- name of the food,
- list of ingredients,
- presence of genetically modified or irradiated ingredients,
- (from February 2000) quantity of the key ingredients,
- quantity of the food,
- durability indication (use by or best before date),
- storage and use conditions,
- and name and address of manufacturer or packer.
These essentially define what a food contains, how to use it safely and where to get redress in case of complaint.
- Should the list be reduced? If so, how?
- Should the list be increased, bearing in mind the practical limitations on label size?
- What about full declaration of allergens, compulsory nutrition labelling, origin labelling, information on production methods, use of pesticides etc?
- Could some of this information be provided somewhere else than on the label (leaflets, in store databases, bar code scanners etc)
- What about loose foods and foods sold in cafes, restaurants and take-aways?
How should mandatory information be presented?
- Should all mandatory information be presented together (in a statutory panel) so that its easily found?
- Should standard formats be used more for instance, nutrition information (where it is given) must be presented as defined in the regulations?
- Should there be detailed minimum statutory or advisory criteria on legibility, such as for font size or on use of colours? (The Institute of Grocery Distribution has published recommendations on font size and use of colour and contrast for label print.)
How should claims be controlled?
False or misleading claims are illegal, and specific claims are controlled by legislation or subject to Government advice or self-regulation.
- How should health claims be controlled?
- Should some medicinal claims be allowed?
- How should use of terms like traditional, fresh, pure be controlled?
Is there sufficient advice on the use of labels?
Foodsensebooklets are available covering food labelling and use of the nutrition panel; they are distributed mainly to schools. In addition supermarkets publish leaflets to help their customers.
- Have the Government booklets been helpful?
- Is more advice needed?
- How can it be made more widely available?
- Are there other ways we can help consumers to use labels effectively?
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This page was last updated 28 January 2000