Meat Products (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2008
Thursday 26 July 2007
This consultation seeks views and comments on the draft Meat Products (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2008, implementing changes to European legislation resulting from revocation of Council Directive 77/99/EEC.
All comments and views should be sent to:
Food Standards, Diet and Nutrition
Food Standards Agency Scotland
St Magnus House
25 Guild Street
Tel: 01224 285 111
Fax: 01224 285 168
Responses are requested by: 30 November 2007
Comments are also sought on draft FSA guidance on legal requirements (including those resulting from the amending legislation) and best practice advice on the labelling of added ingredients in meat products which have the appearance of ‘plain’ meat.
Both are included in the same consultation package as they both relate to regulation 5 of the Meat Products (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the MPR) . Each is accompanied by its own Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA).
To remove the name of the food labelling requirements related to added starch and protein for certain meat products covered by regulation 5 of the MPR, bringing labelling requirements into line with European law. It should be noted that the name of the food requirements of any ingredients of animal origin from a different species will continue to apply;
- to directly implement the proposed changes in national legislation via an extended consultation period rather than transitional provisions;
- to issue new FSA Guidance consisting of:
1. a guide to regulatory compliance, principally those of regulation 5 of the MPR, and
2. best practice guidance on when to include added ingredients in the name of the food for the relevant meat products; and
3. to obtain feedback from stakeholders on a proposal to include in the Guidance threshold levels (1%) for added starch and protein over which their
4. presence in the relevant meat products should preferably be declared in the name of the food.
When responding, please state whether you are responding as a private individual or on behalf of an organisation/company (with a brief summary of the people it represents).
The proposed amendment Regulations bring labelling requirements for added starch and protein in meat products (that look like a cut, joint, slice, portion or carcase of meat or cured meat) into line with European labelling requirements. In this case, protein means any protein of either animal (same species to the meat) or vegetable origin. It is important to note that the current requirements for the labelling of added ingredients of animal origin from a different species to the meat, including in so far as they relate to proteins, will remain (i.e. regulation 5(2)(a) of the MPR 2004).
In particular, the legislative change removes the name of the food labelling requirements related to added starch and protein from regulation 5 and the related exemption from schedule 3 of the MPR. These amendments implement changes to European legislation resulting from revocation of Council Directive 77/99/EEC. The general labelling provisions of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (as amended) (the FLR) will continue to apply, as will the Food Safety Act 1990.
Council Directive 77/99/EEC had required that, amongst other things, starch or proteins added to meat products for a non-technological purpose only had to be mentioned in the name of the food. This provision had been implemented in national legislation through regulation 5 of the MPR and its equivalents in the devolved administrations.
The changes to the European legislation that necessitate the amendment Regulations came into effect on 1 January 2006. To avoid the possibility of infraction proceedings by the European Commission, it is proposed to directly implement the changes in the national legislation. Nevertheless, the consultation period has been extended so enforcement and industry have enough time to prepare for the implementation of the amending legislation. Commensurate with better regulation principles, it is proposed that the coming into force date coincides with the Common Commencement date of 6 April 2008. A similar approach will be taken in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The guidance is intended for use by manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, catering establishments, enforcement officers and importers. The main objectives are:
- to ensure clear information about the relevant meat products for consumers so that they can make informed choices;
- to give a guide to regulatory compliance and best practice guidance on the labelling of the relevant meat products while reducing the administrative burdens on industry and keeping any additional burdens that may arise as a result of the Guidance to a minimum;
- to encourage a common understanding across industry and enforcement by giving a guide to regulatory compliance and best practice guidance in relation to the labelling of the relevant meat products;
- to facilitate fair competition within industry; and
- to encourage consistent enforcement.
The issue of prominent labelling of ‘added ingredients’ in meat products that look like ‘plain’ meat has been highlighted in results of various exercises at UK and EU level; all reported problems in the labelling of these products.
In addition to improving labelling in this area, the Guidance seeks to reduce the administration burdens on industry arising from consideration of the legislation. The Administration Burdens Measurement Exercise (ABME) identified regulation 5 of the MPR as one of the most burdensome pieces of FSA legislation. Equally, issuing clear guidance on the legislation was suggested by industry during that same exercise.
Care has been taken to clearly separate the guide to legal requirements from guidance on best practice (indicated in shaded boxes), the aim being to balance the information for consumers with burdens on industry.
Also covered in the Guidance are changes relating to the proposed amendment Regulations. Thus, the Guidance highlights that the labelling requirements for added starch and protein relating to the name of the food will now fall to regulation 8 of the FLR. It is recognised that industry may have some difficulty in interpreting how these ingredients should be labelled under the general labelling requirements. To mitigate this problem, the Agency would like to explore the idea of including threshold levels in the Guidance for added starch and protein, above which the Agency’s advice would be to indicate their presence in the name of the food.
An extended consultation period on the Guidance, alongside the draft legislation, should allow industry and enforcement authorities to familiarise themselves with the content prior to the proposed coming into force date of the Regulations. The Guidance is UK-wide and applicable in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Part of this consultation process is to gather robust evidence and, with that aim, stakeholders are invited to make their own representations to the Agency. The provisional recommended options and requests for comments are set out in the accompanying Partial Regulatory Impact Assessments covering the amending Regulations and the Guidance (Annex E and Annex G). (We intend to use this information in the final versions of the RIAs in an anonymous form, but please note our obligations relating to disclosure of information as outlined below.)
The results will inform the government’s thinking and development of future policy.
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.
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Publication of response summary
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