The food industry has stepped up efforts to ensure it complies with new labelling rules that take effect next month.
The bulk of the Food Information to Consumers EU 1169/2011 Regulation (FIC) will be implemented in the UK by the Food Information Regulation (FIR) which will take effect on 13 December.
This includes new rules on communicating information about allergens in non-pre-packed foods for the first time and on websites and in catalogues, and provisions pertaining to how nutritional information is displayed on packaging.
The latest report by Campden BRI for supply chain specialist GS1 UK – the third in a series of quarterly reports – identified “positive signs” that the industry was making “significant progress” towards compliance.
The first report in April, based on an analysis of a basket of 20 products from a wide range of retail outlets, found just four were compliant, compared with the latest findings of 11.
The survey found larger companies were still showing mixed levels of compliance, although this was to be “somewhat expected” with them potentially having to work through thousands of lines up to the deadline.
It found increasing compliance in terms of rules around wheat flour fortification and allergen labelling.
However, compliance with requirements to indicate date of first freezing in uncoded form for frozen meat, frozen meat preparations and frozen unprocessed fishery products were, as yet, lacking in some cases.
GS1 stressed that this did not necessarily mean those companies would miss the deadline. They could, for example, be allowing themselves as much time as possible to minimise wastage.
Gary Lynch, chief executive of GS1 UK, said: “This series of reports has shown encouraging signs that industry is moving toward compliance.”
The process was costly and complex for many, but food and drink businesses had been taking it seriously.
“While we are confident that most will achieve compliance in time, that is only the beginning – getting the processes in place to ensure it is maintained for all product changes and new launches will be a key consideration,” Lynch said.