FoP labelling exemptions sought by BCCC

FoP labelling exemptions sought by BCCC

Blanket European regulations requiring front of pack GDA, energy or nutrient labelling across all products - including items such as gifted chocolate and confectionery - would be an inappropriate measure, the UK's Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has suggested.

Speaking at the FDF's biscuit, cake, chocolate and confectionery (BCCC) sector group annual conference last week (6 April), BCCC chairman Nick Stuart said that the BCCC was working within European trade bodies to present a unified voice for the industry. With 85% of food legislation affecting UK companies coming from Brussels, Stuart insisted that it was vital for the UK food industry to present its case on such issues in Europe.

"This is very important for our industry because some of the measures being proposed are quite Draconian," he warned his audience.

Currently, debate in the EU on the labelling of energy content and GDAs is considering the stipulation that all products would carry GDAs on their labels, including front of pack energy information.

While the FDF has been a long-term supporter of GDA labelling in principle, Stuart argued that front of pack labelling would be an inappropriate measure for a number of products that come under the BCCC's remit, such as gift boxes of chocolate or small sized confectionery.

"Exemptions are important to us - but this is not a controversial point. Exemptions have been sought where appropriate and discussions are in progress on this subject," Stuart commented.

On nutrient claims, Stuart insisted: "We are literally at last chance saloon here. If we are not allowed to say "zero salt" - if we are not allowed to tell consumers we have made some changes - what is the point?"

Meanwhile, he added that country of origin labelling regulations on ingredients would be problematic for the industry because suppliers change based on various factors - such as seasonality or price negotiations. The need to change labelling each time a new supply contract was negotiated could cost the industry "millions of pounds", Stuart warned.