Food Law News - UK - 2003

FSA Consultation Letter, 18 February 2003

COMPOSITIONAL STANDARDS - Specified Sugar Products Regulations 2003

Council Directive 2001/111/EC, provides reserved sales names for specified sugar products, and lays down compositional standards and some additional labelling requirements for products marketed under those reserved sales names. The Directive replaces the existing 1973 Sugars Directive, and must be implemented into national legislation by 12 July 2003.

Consultation details - The Specified Sugar Products Regulations 2003:

This draft Statutory Instrument (SI) implements Council Directive 2001/111/EC, providing for its enforcement, creating offences and providing penalties in respect of non-compliance with the new requirements. The SI will apply in England only (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be making their own separate, but similar, legislation).

The draft SI prescribes definitions and reserved descriptions for designated sugar products and restricts the use of these descriptors to the products within its scope. The SI also lays down certain specific labelling or marking requirements in addition to that of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996. Provisions in the new SI are broadly in line with those of the 1976 Sugars Regulations, which they replace. However, the new Regulations differ on the following points:

The new Regulations include a requirement for glucose syrup containing more than 5% fructose to be described as 'glucose-fructose syrup' or 'fructose-glucose syrup' (depending on the relative proportions of the two sugar components). This will also apply where these ingredients are described in a product's list of ingredients. Some changes to product labelling will therefore be required.

Guidance Notes:

The FSA have prepared guidance notes which set out and attempt to clarify the requirements of the new Regulations. They aim to provide practical advice for businesses and enforcement bodies, with the aim of achieving consistent application and enforcement of the new provisions. It is important to note that the guidance notes are non-statutory, providing advice on best practice and should be read in conjunction with the relevant legislation. They should not be taken as an authoritative statement or interpretation of the law as only the courts have this power.

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