Current rules and regulations
Current EU rules define the minimum amount of information required on food labels and prohibit misleading claims. There are some additional national rules and self-regulatory initiatives. Self-regulation is particularly important in the control of promotional messages, such as health claims. Legislation is often added in an
ad hocmanner in response to public concern. At present there are also demands for information about country of origin and methods of production (covering animal welfare standards, environmental protection, labour standards and developing country interests).
The legislative framework for food labelling is mainly harmonised at EU level and follows closely the global standards agreed at the Codex Alimentarius, the intergovernmental body that sets international food standards. This ensures that home produced and imported products are labelled consistently but it also limits the scope for national action. International rules must, however, evolve to meet the changing needs of consumers. There are some limited UK national labelling rules, and the UK statutory regime is supplemented by national guidance, for example on low fat claims, and by self-regulatory initiatives.
Further information is available on the following subjects:
The Food Labelling Regulations 1996
Claims on Food Labels
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This page was last updated 28 January 2000