The EC Regulation (which comes into force on 1 September) is directly applicable in the United Kingdom and is of course legally binding on all Member States from the date of entry into force. However, domestic Regulations are required in order to make provision for the enforcement and execution of the Regulation in Great Britain, including offences and penalties. This will be achieved through an amendment to the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/1499), made under the Food Safety Act 1990. A copy of the proposed Regulation was circulated with the letter. Comments are required by 7 September so as to introduce the GB Regulations as soon as possible after 1 September.
Both the Food Labelling Directive 70/112/EEC and the Food Labeling Regulations (FLR) provide for exemptions from certain labelling requirements. The Government’s position on GM labelling is that all foods containing GM material should be labelled. In line with this approach the Ministry does not intend to make use of the exemptions from labelling requirements that are permissible under the Food Labelling Directive. It is proposed therefore not to exempt information in the case of sales by catering establishments of food which is not prepacked (e.g. meals) or which is prepacked for direct sales (e.g. sandwiches made up in advance on the premises). Food sold in these circumstances will be required to declare whether or not GM soya/maize is present either on a label attached to the food or on a menu, notice ticket or label that is readily discernible at the place where the food is chosen.
The Ministry intend to issue for consultation draft Guidance notes, covering the EC soya and maize Regulation, and the Novel Foods Regulation (258/97).