The UK government has announced that from today (2 September) it has made changes to which departments have responsibility for food labelling policy.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will retain responsibility for food safety aspects of labelling, but in England, other responsibilities will go to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Responsibilities for nutrition labelling will move to the Department of Health at a later date.

The three departments will work closely together to ensure joined up engagement from government on food labelling policy, the government said in a statement.

The FSA will retain responsibility for the food safety aspects of labelling, covering: scientific advice on the food safety aspects of date marking; assessment and labelling of ingredients/foods with safety implications; GM and novel foods; animal feed, including Codex Intergovernmental Task Force on Animal Feeding; food safety incidents; EU General Food Law regulation and Codex Committees on Food Hygiene; methods of analysis and sampling; food additives and contaminants in foods.

Defra will continue to cover its current labelling responsibilities, such as welfare, marketing standards and eco-labelling. It will now also deal with labelling that does not relate to food safety or nutrition. This will include: general lead on food labelling legislation and relevant EU negotiations; lead on the EU Food Information proposal; country of origin labelling; food composition standards and labelling; technical advice on compositional standards for food without specific legislation; use of marketing terms; fish labelling; food authenticity programme; as well as Codex Committees for Food Labelling, Processed Fruits and Vegetables, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Fats and Oils, Fish and Fishery Products, Europe, General Principles. It will also take the lead on the Codex Alimentarius Commission, General Principles and Coordinating Committee for Europe

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The Department of Health will cover nutritional labelling policy and relevant EU negotiations. This will include: nutrition-related aspects of the EU food information regulation; front of pack labelling; food for particular nutritional uses; infant formula and follow on formula; health and nutrition claims; food supplement;, calorie information in food service and the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses.