NFU welcomes new Country of Origin labelling rules

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On the 18 June, 2020 a new amendment to the Food Information Regulations was made to enforce new country of origin rules which require the country of origin of the primary ingredient to be displayed if different to the country of origin or place of provenance of the product.

The Food Information to Consumers Regulations (1169/2011) is the overarching labelling legislation, within this legislation country of origin is defined as ‘the last substantial place of change’. This means that the country of origin could be where a product was packed or manufactured and not necessary the country of origin of the primary ingredient. This new regulation recognises the potential to mislead consumers and therefore tries to add clarity.

The primary ingredient is an ingredient or ingredients of a food that represent more than 50 % of that food or which are usually associated with the name of the food and where the origin claim of the product is different to this the country of origin of the primary ingredient will need to be labelled in the same field of vision.

Examples of what is in scope of this legislation:

  • A ‘British Shepherds Pie’ and the lamb mince is from New Zealand, it will now be compulsory to provide a Country of origin of the primary ingredient.
  • A chicken pie, with ‘made in Britain’ claim on the front of pack however the Chicken is from the EU. This would require the origin of the chicken to be displayed in the same field of vision as the claim.
  • Also covered by the legislation are any pictorial indications of origin and produced in, made in claims on pack.

What is not included in the legislation are customary names, for example, ‘Scotch eggs’ or ‘Yorkshire puddings’.

    The NFU has been lobbying on this legislation for some time and welcomes the changes which will close a loophole that could potentially mislead consumers. While we support the legislation that provides consumers with a clear and honest country of origin labelling, we believe that it could have gone further to provide detailed rules on Protected Food Names and trademarks. We would now like to see Defra provide clear guidance to businesses on what is and isn’t in the scope of the legislation.

    A link to the legislation can be found here.

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