Article 8 – Responsibilities under EU Food Information to Consumers Regulation
6 September 2014
Helen Arrowsmith, Principal Food Law Adviser and Allergen Specialist
Article 8 of the EU Food Information to Consumers Regulation discusses the responsibilities of food business operators
and identifies under which various scenarios where the responsibility lies. We have had numerous queries regarding this provision of the FIC
and have produced this brief white paper to outline answers to the most common questions.
Mass Caterers – including pubs / restaurants, stalls, vehicles
New rules will come into place from 13 December 2014 that will require allergen labelling to be available to consumers in all mass catering
establishments. These are any establishments that prepare food ready for consumption by the final consumer (including stalls and vehicles).
It will be the responsibility of the establishment to have allergen information available and ensure that it is clear to the consumer how to
obtain this. Dissemination can be done via many methods including, but not limited to:
- Allergen information folder
- Staff (sign needed to inform consumers that they can ask staff for information and written confirmation required to validate information)
- Beer pump clips
Labelling responsibilities when selling to mass caterers or wholesalers*
When a manufacturer produces food for sale directly to a mass caterer or a food that is intended for the final consumer but marketed at a
stage prior to sale to the final consumer, such as a manufacturer to wholesaler who then sells to retail, there are various possibilities
regarding information dissemination. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that all the mandatory information required under
the Food Information to Consumers Regulation is supplied. Not all the information is required on a label on the prepackaging and some
information may be supplied on commercial documents. However, the Regulation still states that the following must be present on a label
attached to the product supplied to mass caterers:
- Date of minimum durability
- Special storage conditions / conditions of use
- Name and address of food business operator
It should be noted that, when a food is then sold to the final consumer, all mandatory labelling requirements must
be adhered to.
*Wholesalers is an example of where prepacked food is intended for the final consumer but marketed at a stage prior
to sale to the final consumer and where sale to a mass caterer is not involved at that stage.
Labelling responsibilities when selling to industry for use
The FIC labelling requirements themselves do not apply to food intended for business-to-business transactions that
do not involve food for mass caterers or food intended as such for the final consumer. Despite this, a food business operator has the
responsibility to ensure that all the mandatory information required under the FIC is supplied to the manufacturers / packers who will be
responsible for the final product information to the consumer.
Responsibilities of the importer when importing products from EU and 3rd Countries
When importing food products from a 3rd country a food label or commercial document must name a business operator
that is responsible for the product within the EU. It is the importer who is responsible for the product and all the information present (or
not present) on the label. It is the responsibility of the importer in the EU to ensure that all mandatory particulars are on the label or
provided for in commercial documents where appropriate.
Responsibilities of packers
Packers have an obligation in their capacity as food business professionals if they are aware of any product or
packaging that does not comply with the Regulation on the basis of information in their possession to withhold this from distribution. If
they knowingly release product onto the market that does not comply with the Regulation then they will commit an offence. This may be
especially relevant to co-packers who might be reasonably expected to take simple precautions for the products they pack and label. For
example, it may be reasonable to expect that food safety information such as allergens on the labels match those on the product specifications
in their possession.
Who is responsible for products sold on a website?
When distance selling, a retailer becomes wholly responsible for the information given for products sold on their
website or sold through other materials supporting the distance selling regardless of who the brand holder may be. All information must be
available on the website / supporting material or another appropriate means to the consumer at no cost prior to purchase. The only exceptions
are the use by date (or minimum durability date) and date of freezing (where relevant) which may be given on receipt of the products. All
mandatory information is required to be given to the consumer upon delivery. Vending machines or automated commercial dispensers may provide
all information on delivery of the product to the consumer.
In many catering establishments, individual portion sizes of sauces/condiments, milks, jams, sugar etc. are often
given out for free with a meal. In this case, DEFRA has indicated that it is sufficient for the multipack that they were sold or sent to the
caterer in to be labelled with all the product information. However, if these individual units are sold to the consumer, then they would
need to contain mandatory information as required for general food products (although this may be subject to reduced requirements if the
pack size is small).
For detailed help and guidance, please contact the Regulatory Affairs team at Campden BRI who can offer their expert
advice on what can be a complex area.
Article 8 – Responsibilities under FIC white paper
Click below to download a copy of the white paper in PDF format
For more information, please contact:
Allergen labelling and other legislation issues:
This is a revised version of the white paper originally published on 6 September 2014