Food labelling e-learning course
Enforcement legislation

Enforcement legislation

Food Information Regulations 2014 document

The Food Information Regulations 2014 and their Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish equivalents (‘FIRs’) enforce the FIC in the four UK countries. They also indicate where the UK countries are taking advantage of permitted derogations from FIC provisions and what food information is to be required in the UK countries under national measures.

Provision is made for the eventual revocation of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 as well as for other more minor revocations and consequential amendments.

Enforcement

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the FIRs formally enforce many of the provisions of the FIC via the serving of improvement notices, once the well-established informal procedures have been exhausted. The FIRs apply the improvement notices already provided for in Section 10 of the Food Safety Act 1990 and Article 9 of the Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 for this purpose. Failure to comply with an improvement notice is an offence. Appeals against an improvement notice are to the First-tier Tribunal in England and Magistrates Courts in Wales and Northern Ireland. Enforcement in Scotland is universally via the criminal law, as it is in the other three countries of the UK for selling a food after its ‘use by’ date and may also be for breaches of the rules on the provision of allergen information.

Derogation: milk and milk products

Milk and milk products (undefined) presented in glass bottles intended for reuse are exempted from all the requirements of the FIC in the UK countries.

Derogation: minced meat

In the UK countries the compositional criteria for different types of minced meat laid down in the FIC do not have to be adhered to if a ‘national mark’ comprising a depiction of a square and the words ‘For UK market only’ are used on the labelling of a product. However, the use of the national mark does not allow the fat content and collagen/meat protein ratio of lean minced meat to be varied. Minced meat described as ‘lean’ would not carry the national mark and would need to have a fat content and a collagen/meat protein ratio of not more than 7% and 12% respectively. It could be described simply as ‘lean’ but not, for instance, ‘extra lean’.

All food sold loose

Allergen information for food sold loose to consumers or caterers can be provided in any manner a business chooses including, if stated to be available in this way, verbally.

Food sold loose to consumers or caterers, but not by caterers

The above food must be marked with a legally-compliant name. In addition, such food which is a meat product (with exceptions) must be marked with a quantitative indication for the meat, meaning meat as defined for the purposes of use of the generic term ‘meat’ in ingredient listing. These indications can be given via a label, notice or ticket visible where the food is chosen for purchase.