IFST responds to Defra's consultation on amending food labelling laws

We have responded to Defra's consultation on amending food labelling laws in the event that the UK leaves the EU in a ‘no deal’ scenario. Read our response below. 

1. Duration of the transition: Proposal 6 months. 

IFST suggests a transition phase of 12-18 months.

The proposed changes will have a significant impact for businesses and require high numbers of labels to be re-designed and printed. The planned extension to COOL for primary ingredients - April 2020, will extend COOL further across the food industry.

 When labels are re-designed several steps need to be followed: Redesign : Compliance check : Review : Printing (non UK in many cases): Supply Chain : Stock management. 

Due to the high volume of labels to be changed there could be bottle necks at various stages of the process and resource issues given a 6-month time frame. We would recommend at least a 12-month time frame; Ideally 12- 18 months aiming to capture in "one hit" COOL additional labelling requirements i.e. one timeframe for Brexit linked changes and COOL revisions.

2. Further points?

The EU has developed extensive science-based regulation providing a greater level of food safety for the consumer than many other global regions. Therefore we feel it would be in the consumer interest to be informed if a food is coming from within the EU i.e. 3 categories for the labelling: UK ; EU ; non UK-EU or similar wording.