REGULATION (EU) NO 1169/2011 ON FOOD INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS (THE FIC)

20th Oct 2014

REGULATION (EU) NO 1169/2011 ON FOOD INFORMATION FOR CONSUMERS (THE FIC)

If you are supplying weighing instruments to food packers these regulations are important:

a) Weights and Measures aspects of the FIC

-If a product is being packed in a liquid suspension, e.g. tinned fruit, fish in brine- will need to have net weight and net drained weight marked. This has changed from the previous requirements and is now an obligation.

-The minimum weight at which the following products must meet the obligations of the Packaged Goods Regulations now begins at 5g. This means that the weighing instruments used to make up or check these products must now be verified and bear the appropriate verification marks. The lists of products are:

- Biscuits including wafers, rusks, crisp breads, extruded flatbread, oatcakes and matzos
- Cocoa and chocolate products
- Chocolate confectionary being any food which is ready for consumption without further preparation, of which a characterising ingredient is chocolate, cocoa or non-fat cocoa solids, and includes food of which a characterising ingredient is carbohydrate sweetening matter and which has a chocolate-flavoured coating, but not including any biscuits, chocolate products, flour confectionary or edible ice.
- Herbs and spices
- Potato crisps and other similar products known as snack foods
- Single portion vending machine beverage packs
- Individual portion of a food intended as a minor accompaniment to another food or service. This includes butter and other fat spreads, milk, cream and cheeses, jams and marmalades, mustards, sauces, tea, coffee and sugar, and another service includes the provision of sleeping accommodation at a hotel or other establishment at which such accommodation is provided by way of a trade or business.
- Sugar confectionary being any food which is ready for consumption without further preparation, of which a characterising ingredient is carbohydrate sweetening matter, and includes sweetened liquorice and chewing gum, but does not include any chocolate confectionery, chocolate products, cocoa products, flour confectionery, edible ice, table jellies, slab marzipan or sugar.
- Biscuits and shortbread
- Sugar

-If a product is not e-marked the obligatory height of the weight indications has been changed. It must be a minimum of 75% of the x-height of the name of the product with a minimum of 1.2 mm (The x- height is the height of the letter x in the font). If the package is e-marked the font size must be that which is in the Packaged Goods Regulations 2006.

b) Food Labelling Aspects of the FIC

-The requirement for all sellers of food to provide information on any allergens (there are currently 14 recognised ones) in their products. This was previously limited to pre-packed foods-for pre-packed foods, each allergen must be highlighted in the ingredients list.

-A minimum font size for compulsory information such as the name, ingredients, etc.

-Pre-packed foods must be labelled with nutritional information (calories, fat, sugar, salt etc.) from December 2016. This is currently only required if claims such as “low fat”, “reduced sugar” etc. is made on a label

-Food on sale after it’s “use by” date (not to be confused with “best before” date) will automatically be deemed to be unsafe other special provisions relating to oils and fats, frozen meat and fish and country of origin labelling for meat.

This is not a comprehensive explanation of the changes and there are a number of good presentations on the Internet. I have used the following link that I feel explains the regulations well:

www.fdf.org.uk/understanding-food-information-regulation-event-sep13.aspx

Ian Turner, UK Weighing Federation.
Technical Officer

Industry Associations