Food Law News - UK - 2000

1 February 2000: LABELLING - Nick Brown Announces New Guidelines on Country of Origin Food Labels

MAFF Press Release (34/00), 1 February 2000

Nick Brown Announces New Guidelines on Country of Origin Food Labels to Take Effect Immediately

New guidelines on origin labelling of foodstuffs have been published today.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said:
"I am determined to stamp out misleading labelling. We produce some of the best food in the world, to the highest quality hygiene and animal welfare standards. Our producers should get the credit and premium for that. And consumers need to know that when they buy food labelled "British" it is British food produced in Britain. I have therefore today issued tough new guidelines which make it clear that practice must change so that origin labels on foods are clear and unambiguous. Consumers have a right to clear informative food labels to help them make informed choices about foods. The new guidelines are in producers' interests too. Many people want to buy British food to support British farmers, and clearer origin labels will help them to do so."

Food labelling legislation is harmonised throughout the European Community under single market rules (Directive 79/112/EEC). This requires an indication of the place of origin of a food only if failure to give such particulars might mislead a purchaser to a material degree about its true origin or provenance. Country of origin labelling, whether given as a result of this rule or voluntarily, must comply with the Food Safety Act 1990. This makes it an offence to label any food in a way which falsely describes it or is likely to mislead as to its nature, substance or quality, and with the Trade Descriptions Act 1968.

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