The FSA looks set to take a stand against Brussels' plans for a minimum font size on labelling, backing industry concerns that it is impractical and would cost companies millions.

In January, the European Commission laid out new labelling proposals including regulations that retailers and suppliers could not use text smaller than 3mm for mandatory information.

However, at this month's FSA board meeting, it was agreed that the focus should be taken off the 3mm limit and a broader view of clarity should be taken.

Since the EC's proposals, a number of businesses had objected to the plans on grounds that they would lead to increased packaging and costs, as well as a loss of useful voluntary information, said the FSA.

In one example submitted by a major supermarket, compliance with the proposal would mean an extra back label on the 145 million sandwiches sold in its stores each year. This would create 72,500kg of additional packaging and cost an extra £1.15m, plus a one-off outlay of £3.12m for additional labelling equipment.

"We will consider the impact of all new regulations on businesses," said an FSA spokesman. "We recognise that a prescriptive font size of 3mm does not necessarily guarantee overall clarity and there could be a number of other options, such as the degree of contrast between print and background, that would help improve clarity."

The FSA's recommendations will now be passed to UK ministers ahead of the French taking over the European Commission presidency next month. The labelling debate is expected to take place in September.