What do the new food labelling regulations mean for the seafood industry?

Posted by Fiona Wright on 19 December 2014

New regulations came into force on the 13th December which will introduce major changes to all food labelling. The new Regulation has changed from a Regulation on food labelling to a regulation on food information to reflect the change in scope to cover non packaged food such as food service and food sold loose. It also extends to distance selling.

For the retailer selling goods packed by the producer this will not introduce many new requirements. There is a responsibility on all businesses to ensure that labelling is correct, limited to the knowledge they could be expected to have. This could range from ensuring that the label in in English and there is a durability date for a small retailer and that labels are fully compliant for a large multiple.

Where there are new requirements for retailers are where food is sold loose. Previously food sold loose or packed The customer's request was exempt from labelling regulations. Although these foods are still exempt from the majority of the rules they will have to declare any allergens deliberately added to foods. This also applies to food service.

There are 14 allergens that must be declared either on labels near food, menus, posters etc. or there can be a member of staff trained an answer questions on allergens.

Additionally for the seafood sector a new regulation comes into force on the same day to assist consumers to make sustainable choices in choosing the fish they buy. Coming into force on the same day information will need to be given on the legal name, scientific name, production method, specific catch area or country of farming, gear type and if it has been defrosted. These new rules apply to packaged and non-packaged seafood but only unprocessed products such as fish fillets, smoked fish and some cooked shellfish.

Seafish has created guidlines on both regulations which can be found here and here.