The EU Food Information Regulation (FIR) came into effect last month, and if manufacturers and retailers fail to take the new legislation into account they can face costs of £100,000. In the event of a FIR incompliance, products would have be to discarded, labels re-designed and replacement stock distributed, accumulating up to £100k per product. This figure doesn’t include the £5,000 fine for non-compliant labelling, and the lost sales when the products are recalled.
The estimated figures come from labelling company Trace One, which claims the average cost of a label change is £3,000 per product. This means that to stay compliant with the new EU labelling legislation, large retailers with thousands of products could have spent up to £30m on FIR compliance.
Tracey Cranney, Operations Manager at QADEX, said, “Yes the cost of redesigning and producing new labels is big, but the consequences of non-compliance are catastrophic. One small error on the packaging could result in a £105,000+ setback per product line, so it’s critical that retailers get these FIR changes right.”
The majority of the legislation applies to pre-packaged foods, and there will be more rules added on 1st April 2015 and 16th December 2016. The key requirements are:
- Allergen information must be emphasised in the ingredients list
- Nutrition labelling required in a consistent format
- Minimum font size for mandatory information
- Date of product freezing for frozen fish and meat
- Compositional standards for minced meat
- Caffeine content of high caffeine drinks must be stated, and a warning for pregnant women and children
- Added water of 5% in meat and fish must be declared.
In addition, from April 2015 country of origin information will be required for the meat of sheep, pigs, goats and poultry.
Tracey added, “The transparency of food products has long been an issue for consumers after food scares and scandals – now the EU FIR rules make it compulsory. There will now have to be a closer collaboration between retailers, suppliers, packagers and manufacturers to ensure everything is “what it says on the tin” – and we certainly welcome that.”
QADEX Vision food management system has a number of tools which assist retailers and wholesalers to communicate effectively with suppliers. The software includes modules such as Supplier Risk Assessment, Supplier Chain Auditing and Supplier Certification Management, allowing automatic updates and reminders if any suppliers are behind with their paperwork. QADEX works to achieve greater collaboration and transparency in the food chain without adding extra work for managers and auditors.
To find out more about QADEX’s food safety and brand protection software visit http://www.qadex.com/
About QADEX: Enabling step change improvement in food safety and brand protection, QADEX Vision brings every aspect of food safety, quality management systems, compliance, customers and new product development together in one simple dashboard.