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New UK rules on food labelling are to radically change the way people ...
New UK rules on food labelling are to radically change the way people

look at food.

Consumers will be able to see the actual percentage amounts of

various ingredients used in foods clearly stated on the label.

The change to UK law will implement a new EC directive on food

labelling that will be compulsory for all member states by the year

2000. The draft UK regulations are out for public consultation now.

Food safety minister Jeff Rooker said:

'This will be one of the most important changes to our labelling laws

ever made.

'Stating actual quantities of the major ingredients used will make a

huge difference to the way people look at labels on various food


'It is a major step forward in giving consumers real power to make

informed choices about the products they buy.'

The draft regulations and guidance notes have already been sent to

over 650 organisations and individuals for comment. The government

is also inviting comments from the wider public.

The public can obtain copies from: Keith Gregory, MAFF, Room 325D,

Ergon House, c/o Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR.

Or telephone 0171 238 6254 or fax 0171 238 6763.

The changes being implemented by the UK regulations will:

Require the quantities of certain ingredients to be stated on the

label; Clarify the marketing rules for foods brought in from other

member states or from the EEA; Emphasise that labels must use the

names prescribed in EC law; Reduce the number of single ingredient

foods exempt from ingredient listing; and Require ingredients

identified as 'starch' or 'modified starch' to indicate their

specific vegetable origin if they are likely to contain gluten.

The UK Government is also taking this opportunity to make a number of

other changes to the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 to:

Make clear that labelling exemptions for food brought into the UK

from other EU or EEA states apply only if the requirements of the

food labelling directive and other relevant directives are met;

Adjust the rules for calculating the percentage of milk fat in cream

so that added ingredients, such as alcohol, are excluded; and Require

foods claiming to be reduced or low energy to carry nutrition



1. Directive 97/4/EC of the European Parliament and the Council,

which amends Directive 79/112/EEC on food labelling, was adopted on

27 January 1997.

2. Member states must permit trade in products conforming to the new

requirements by 14 August 1998. Trade in products which do not

conform to the new requirements will be prohibited from 14 February


3. Consultation on the draft implementing regulations closes on

19 November 1997. Consultation on the draft guidance notes closes on

31 October 1997.

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