Food Standards Agency guidance on clear food labelling (Scotland)
Monday 1 October 2007
The Agency issued Clear Food Labelling Guidance in 2002 and is now seeking to issue improved Guidance by making the changes set out in the consultation documents. The guidance sets out legislative requirements, as well as best practice advice.
All comments and views should be sent to:
Food Standards Agency Scotland
6th Floor, St. Magnus House
25 Guild Street
Aberdeen AB11 6NJ
Tel: 01224 285165
Fax: 01224 285168
Responses are requested by: 24 December 2007
The objectives of the guidance are as follows:
- to improve labelling practice with respect to clear labelling and awareness of existing legislation on clear labelling in the manufacturing and retail sectors
- to improve consumer confidence in labelling through improved clarity, particularly bearing in mind visual impairment issues
- to provide enforcement authorities with guidance to help them improve labelling advice
The proposals are to revise the guidance to include:
- reformatted guidance to enable better accessibility by small and medium enterprises and diagrams to illustrate the best practice points for ease of reference
- an expanded rationale, so that the best practice recommendations are provided with context
- improved best practice recommendations that address the many factors that affect clarity including print size, contrast and layout
- advice on presentation features to use with care and those to avoid
- advice on small labels and how to prioritise labels that carry many items of information
- a section on key legal requirements relevant to clear labelling
- an annexe that outlines relevant legal requirements covering rules on presentation, mandatory information, information that must be present in some circumstances, and nutrition and health claims
Introducing these changes to the guidance would be helpful to consumers by providing better labelling through improved best practice advice and updated advice on legislation for industry. This will be particularly helpful for partially sighted consumers as many can read printed information if it is well designed with respect to features including good text size and contrast.
The guidance also provides a reference document covering factors that affect clarity. This may be helpful to local authorities when providing advice to industry, and also for considering whether enforcement action is appropriate in relation to food or trade descriptions legislation, (although it should be recognised that the recommendations are best practice advice and not advice on compliance with legislation).
Please see the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) and Summary Impact Assessment in the accompanying document.
We particularly welcome views from:
- small business and manufacturers with regards to costs of familiarisation with the revised guidance in particular
- small business that may be affected by the proposed revisions
- all stakeholders on the costs and benefits of the proposed options
- stakeholders on how the options may affect competition in the food sector
- enforcement authorities regarding how helpful they find this guidance
- stakeholders on the extent to which the policy meets the needs of disabled consumers, particularly visually impaired consumers
- all stakeholders on the sustainability issues related to our guidance
This consultation has been prepared in accordance with the HM Government Code of Practice on Consultation, which states that a consultation must follow better regulation best practice, including carrying out an Impact Assessment (Regulatory Impact Assessment in Scotland). The assessment is included in the consultation documents.
We are interested in what you thought of this consultation and would therefore welcome your general feedback on both the consultation package and overall consultation process. If you would like to assist us to improve the quality of future consultations, please feel free to share your thoughts with us by using the consultation feedback questionnaire.
Publication of personal data and confidentiality of responses
In accordance with the FSA principle of openness our Information Centre at Aviation House will hold a copy of the completed consultation. The FSA will publish a summary of responses, which may include personal data, such as your full name. Disclosure of any other personal data would be made only upon request for the full consultation responses. If you do not want this information to be released, please complete and return the Publication of Personal Data Form. Return of this form does not mean that we will treat your response to the consultation as confidential, just your personal data.
Data protection form (Word)
Data protection form (pdf)
Publication of response summary
Within three months of a consultation ending we aim to publish a summary of responses received and provide a link to it from this page.
If, after three months, the summary is still not showing, please contact the person who was responsible for the original consultation. Alternatively, you can contact the FSA Consultation Co-ordinator by email: firstname.lastname@example.org