On 13 December 2014, new rules set out in Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to the consumer (FIC) became applicable. The provision of nutrition information on a mandatory basis for prepacked foods was introduced in this regulation, however in order to give food businesses time to prepare, the date of application was set at 13 December 2016.
Annex V of this regulation provides a list of foods that are exempt from mandatory nutritional labelling. Included in this list is ‘food, including handcrafted food, directly supplied by the manufacturer of small quantities of products to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer.’
The FIC does not define ‘local’ nor ‘small quantities’ in the exemption. The Commission has said that the interpretation of the exemption is left to individual Member States.
The Department of Health consulted on the issue with key stakeholders from the end of last year / early this year, and I have just received confirmation direct from the Department of Health on the final decision:
The EU definition of a micro-business will be used to define ‘small quantities’, which is
- a business with less than 10 (full time equivalent) employees
- turnover/balance sheet total of £1.4 million (the equivalent of €2m).
‘Local retail establishments’ means ‘sales within the supplying establishment’s own county plus the greater of either the neighbouring county or counties, or 30 miles/50 kilometres from the boundary of the supplying establishment’s county’.
The Department of Health have updated the technical guidance to reflect this interpretation. The guidance is available here.
Here is a link to a useful Q&A document from the Food Standards Agency.
However, it is important to note that where a permitted nutrition or health claim appears on the labelling, presentation or advertising, nutrition labelling then becomes compulsory (Regulation (EU) No. 1924/2006 lastly amended by Regulation (EU) No. 1047/2012).
If you believe you may be exempt from mandatory nutrition labelling, it is advised you seek advice from your local enforcement authority.
If you do need to apply back of pack nutrition labelling – but have not yet put plans in place, please contact Anne to discuss your requirements and to obtain a competitive quote.