VEGA News Item

VEGA Comments on FSA Consultation on Food Sold Loose - 26/09/2007
Consultation on consumer information on foods sold loose in for example delicatessen counters, markets and catering establishments.
Re: A framework for the provision of mandatory food information and labelling requirements for food sold loose

Consultation on consumer information on foods sold loose in for example delicatessen counters, markets and catering establishments.

Q1. Do you agree with this framework approach as a sensible basis to establish labelling provisions that should apply for pre-packed foods?

We agree with the framework approach on the labeling of prepacked foods.

Q2. Do you agree with the principles identified? Please give your reasons either way: safety, key product identifiers, nutrition.

We agree with the principles stated, but we would also look for information on the packing materials and means of disposal and details of methods of husbandry and practice (which would include details of rearing and killing of animal-derived foodstuffs). The information should include commodities sold and bartered at a retail and wholesale level and, if there is space, include a recipe for a dish or menu for a meal for which the pre-packed food could be used as an ingredient. Nutritional material and profiling should be cited for the complete dish or meal. If space on a packet or bottle is inadequate, extra information should be available in store and online.

Q3. Are there any other principles or filters that you feel should be considered?

There will be a need to overhaul definitions and claims, such as natural, home-made, organic, dairy-free, cruelty-free, local (or locally produced) on foods sold loose or pre-packed. (It seems that labeling connotes some form of containment, albeit in an otherwise plain or undistinguished container).

Q4. Do you agree with the additional filters of consumer demand and sustainability that requirements should be subject to?

See answer to Q3.

Q5. Should a best practice approach to provide off label information be developed for foods sold loose?

We agree on the need for information required in a Best Practice approach for food sold loose. This would have to be tackled on a case by case interpretation, taking account of the circumstances and scale of the transactions and avoiding undue inhibition of enterprise by SME and occasional and seasonal vendors when consumers must be required to exert their own due diligence on the caveat emptor principle. At least the customer should receive a bill of sale adequate for purposes of traceability, origins, and provenance.


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