The regulations governing food labelling are largely set at EU level, establishing common rules in support of the operation of the single market. These Regulations were reviewed in depth resulting, in 2011, in the Regulation on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers (1169/2011). The UK took the opportunity of this review to press for better country of origin labelling for meat. The new rules on mandatory country of origin labelling for fresh and frozen meat came into force on 1 April 2015. The Government is continuing to press the European Commission to consider extending country of origin labelling to other types of food where there is consumer demand, particularly for key dairy products.
We took the opportunity of this revision of EU Regulations to simplify our domestic regulations, reducing them in number and reducing their overall burden, including by adopting derogations from the EU Regulations where considered advantageous for the UK. Defra is also undertaking a research study to evaluate the impact of the Food Information Regulations, looking in particular at how consumers respond to the level and type of information provided to them on food labels.
Legislation on foods for specific groups such as baby food is also being reviewed to simplify and reduce the regulatory burden, with national legislation implementing EU rules expected to be in place from July 2016. An assessment of the balance of competences between the EU and the UK for nutrition and food labelling was completed in 2013.
The impact of the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal has been assessed, including national voluntary agreements in nutrition labelling, such as front of pack labelling. EU Legislation on nutrition and health claims made on food has been assessed and an evaluation of the impact of the legislation, in particular on the evolution of the market in foods for which nutrition or health claims are made, is being carried out.