Industry guidance on complex legislation which governs clear labelling and presentation of foodstuffs for sale in Europe has been produced by the Sea Fish Industry Authority.

The Seafish Technology team has published a technical information sheet which highlights the requirements of the UK’s Food Safety and Trade Descriptions Acts. These Acts establish a fundamental legal requirement that labelling or advertising must not be misleading. There is also a specific requirement to provide particulars of the place of origin or provenance of food where not including such information would be misleading to the consumer. For example, fish from Norway processed in Scotland must not be described as ‘Scottish fish’.

The Fish Industry Food Legislation Working Group, set-up by Seafish is keen to highlight the implications of the labelling of origin to the industry and has been promoting the new technical information sheet. This covers where the current legislation on labelling of place of origin stands, what government guidance is available and, also, future EU requirements.

Wesley Denton, Secretary of The Working Group said: “This legislation highlights labelling issues in the presentation of fish caught far away from the place where it is processed and packaged. The issue needs to be considered by those involved in regional marketing activities. Earlier guidance has emphasised that product and company names and the use of symbols and flags can be misleading for consumers.”

Further European Legislation, due to take effect in 2002, will require the labelling of the catch area of many fish products.

For a copy of the Technical Information Sheet No. 2000/03/FT, contact Deborah Dalton on 01482 327837.

For further information contact: Cathy Mollon, Public Relations Officer, 0131 558 3331