For many years now regulations have been in place to make sure that allergens (i.e. certain foods or ingredients that some people may be sensitive to or, in some cases, make them very ill) are clearly labelled. In common with most other companies Mornflake has highlighted these allergenic ingredients in an Allergy Advice box next to the ingredients list.
Under the FIC regulations we will no longer be allowed to do this, but we will be highlighting any allergens in the ingredients list as required in the new law. We have taken the decision to highlight allergens in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS, as we believe that this will be as clear as possible to consumers. The advice from charities and agencies that support consumers with food allergies has always been to carefully read the ingredients listing - this will become even more important as these changes take effect.
The use of "May Contain" or "Not Suitable For" statements will continue under the new regulations, but many manufacturers and retailers have standardised the way this information is shown. Please note that Mornflake always tries to avoid the use of these types of statements, but we will continue to use them where there is a genuine chance that minute amounts of an allergen may be present because it has been handled on the same packing line.
So the key advice for anyone with a food allergy is to continue to carefully read the ingredients list. The Food Standards Agency has also produced some Guidance on the Changes to Allergen Labelling that you may find useful.
There are a number of changes to nutrition labelling required under the FIC regulations, some of which will be more obvious than others.
Nutrients that must be declared:
Under the existing Food Labelling Regulations nutrition labelling has not been compulsory. However Mornflake has voluntarily given detailed nutrition information for many years. Where this information has been provided there has been a requirement that the information be provided in a set format and for a defined set of nutrients, typically: Energy; Protein, Carbohydrate; Sugars; Fat; Saturated Fat; Fibre; and Sodium.
Under the FIC Regulations nutrition labelling becomes compulsory, and the nutrients that must be labelled (and the order of presentation) have changed. The nutrition panel in the future will include at least the following, and in the following order: Energy; Fat; Saturated Fat; Carbohydrate; Sugars; Protein; Salt; [Vitamins and Minerals if present in significant amounts]
Note that giving a figure for Fibre becomes voluntary, but we will always still declare fibre - it will appear in the list between Sugars and Protein. Also note that the declaration of Sodium changes to Salt (for information the Salt level is the amount of Sodium multiplied by 2.5).
Guideline Daily Amounts and Reference Intakes
The old term of "Guideline Daily Amount" (or GDA) to give an approximation of how much of each nutrient and energy a typical person should consume has been replaced by the term "Reference Intake" (or RI). To add confusion for Vitamins and Minerals the Reference Intake will be referred to as Nutrient Reference Values (or NRV's!). At the moment the new regulations also only have one set of figures to cover all consumers, whereas under the previous rules there were separate GDA figures for men, women and children so the most appropriate figures could be used.
Mornflake will be moving to the new Reference Intake figures as we make the changes to accommodate the new regulations, and we will do our very best on the packs to make the information clear.
FRONT OF PACK Labelling
Front of Pack nutrition labelling has always been voluntary, and it will continue to be voluntary under the new regulations. In the past there have been lots of different ways to provide this voluntary information, so we decided not to provide this information until the rules became clearer.
The UK Department of Health has now written clear guidance on Front of Pack nutrition labelling. Whilst following the guidance is still voluntary, we have decided to fully adopt it to help make nutrition information clearer for our customers.