The U.K. Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced a public consultation seeking feedback on proposed legislation that would implement the European Union’s (EU’s) regulation “on the provision of food information to consumers” (Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011). According to DEFRA, the regulation known as FIC requires food business operators (FBOs) to provide specific information to consumers “so that they are able to make informed choices about the food they buy.” These requirements address a number of technical issues, including (i) “country of origin/place of provenance labeling”; (ii) “mandatory nutrition declaration and voluntary front of pack nutrition labeling”; (iii) “ingredients and nutrition labeling of alcoholic drinks”; (iv) “consumer information about non-prepacked foods”; (v) “food allergen labeling and information”; (vi) “clarity of food labels and minimum font size”; (vii) “labeling of vegetable oil including palm oil”; (viii) “labeling of engineered nano-materials”; and (ix) “quantity labeling.”
The U.K. legislation enacting FIC would revoke existing food labeling regulations and replace them with EU-compliant ones as outlined in the consultation’s impact assessment. To this end, the statutory instrument seeks to remove overlaps between domestic and EU-wide legislation, minimize regulatory burdens on FBOs, and implement “a proportionate, risk-based enforcement regime.” DEFRA will accept comments on the assessment until January 30, 2013.