I was discussing legal compliance for food products with one of my industry colleagues the other day and we agreed it was an area where many new businesses need help and guidance to ensure they properly navigate all areas of legislation and regulations so that they have complete confidence when taking their products to market and promoting them.
The purpose of this regulatory control is to make sure that all consumable products are safe, fit for purpose, properly described and not in any way misleading in their promotion.
Because it requires specialist knowledge however, compliance can often be pushed to the back of the queue during the new product development and brand packaging creation stages, so I thought it worthwhile to write a brief overview of the various elements of legislation and governance in the UK as a guide to those starting out in the food sector.
Inevitably, there are multiple layers of compliance relating to product formulations, manufacturing, food safety, packaging labelling and promotion to both understand and implement when bringing a new food, drink or health product to market.
The legal framework covering the above are those from EFSA (European Food Safety Agency), created as statute by the member states of the EU and note it is unlikely that on our exit from Brexit that these regulations will become null and void, rather that they will be adopted under new UK law.
The first layer of compliance relates to manufacturing, ensuring compliance with EFSA regulations in relation to approved ingredients and the Food Safety Act 1990 regarding processes, traceability and food safety. Local authority environmental teams are responsible in policing and enforcing HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical control Points) compliance under the banner of this legislation.
The second layer of compliance relates to packaging labelling and this is enforced by Trading Standards (with additional HMRC rules and regulations applicable to products containing alcohol).
Particular areas for care are claims relating to health, nutrition and functional ingredients – these are heavily regulated and the rules relating to these claims are somewhat complex. There are also special rules for certain products, jam being one of them for example.
There are also regulations relating to font sizes on packaging, the correct presentation of ingredients, allergens, nutritional information and various other components which need to be properly incorporated and presented within packaging labelling to ensure compliance.
And thirdly, the promotion of products is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority who police The Code of Advertising Practice.
In this sense, promotion covers all marketing-related activity, including website and social media content and there is a whole raft of rules about what can be said and what can’t.
The final area of compliance relates to the import of goods from other countries and here, The Rural Payments Agency plays an ancillary role alongside Trading Standards.
Having helped numerous businesses to become compliant leading on to managing submissions to both Trading Standards and The Advertising Standards Authority on their behalf, please do contact me if you believe I can help you too.
For more information about how I help my clients launch new products take a look at Food Brand Strategist.
And take a look at BoomBod as an example of my work.
If you’d like to explore how I can help you with legal compliance for food products, ping me an email so we can schedule a call.
Call: +44 (0) 207 205 2998 or email today for an initial chat.