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Labelling obligations

labelling ingredients liability additives preservatives FSANZ declarations

Best Answer Charles.C, 06 August 2014 - 07:29 AM

Dear dbruhn,

 

You may find this sort of parallel UK thread instructive - 

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...l-declarations/

 

As you can see, no consensus was achieved.

 

As per the previous post, almost certainly an Australian local legislatory issue.

 

FWIW, I suggest you initially assume the worst case scenario and act accordingly. But it's only my opinion. :smile:

 

Rgds / Charles.C

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#1 dbruhn

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:36 AM

We have recently received a contract to perform contract packing on behalf of another company.

 

This company will organise all the other pre-packaged goods from other companies to arrive at our factory and then we will assemble them all together in a box and then ship them out.

 

My question is that I have noticed that some of their labelling declarations on the box are incorrect and misleading. For example they have placed on the box no additives, no preservatives and yet the PIF I have for one of the components has declared citric acid as a preservative in the additional labelling & information requirements section.

They have said that have had the label looked over by a labelling company for proof reading, but what is our legal obligation as the final handlers of the product its self? We are not the manufacturers of that product, nor are we in control of label design; but are we just as liable as the company that contracted us?

 

 

 


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#2 Quality Ben

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:46 AM

Hi dbruhn,

 

Are they referring to no artificial preservatives??

Is this the only misleading information or are there other things?

Is your company referred to in any way / stickers on the box etc?

I am unsure of exact legalities but I think personally I would be investigating further and talking with the company you are dealing with.....tricky subject.


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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 07:29 AM   Best Answer

Dear dbruhn,

 

You may find this sort of parallel UK thread instructive - 

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...l-declarations/

 

As you can see, no consensus was achieved.

 

As per the previous post, almost certainly an Australian local legislatory issue.

 

FWIW, I suggest you initially assume the worst case scenario and act accordingly. But it's only my opinion. :smile:

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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Charles.C


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#4 Wine Gum

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:38 AM

As contract packer for bottled wine and is seen as the 'expert', we generate a deviation/concession report, stating the specific deviation and the effect that it can have, eg the product can be rejected and no export certificate issued. The client must sign the deviation before commencing with labelling, bottling etc. clearly state also that you, as contract packer, will not be held liable for any costs incurred.


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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:59 AM

As contract packer for bottled wine and is seen as the 'expert', we generate a deviation/concession report, stating the specific deviation and the effect that it can have, eg the product can be rejected and no export certificate issued. The client must sign the deviation before commencing with labelling, bottling etc. clearly state also that you, as contract packer, will not be held liable for any costs incurred.

 

Dear Wine Gum,

 

Thank you for your commercially-oriented viewpoint regarding  your Quality related responsibilities as a copacker.

 

And are you aware of any local legislatory  expectations towards the  specific manufacturer  in the event of, for example, a subsequent, safety-related, local incident ?

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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#6 Wine Gum

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 11:14 AM

Dear Charles

Yes, the regulatory requirements (local or international, depending on the country of export) are also stated in the deviation and the effect it can have on quality, food safety and legalty if deviate from the specification/regulation.

Regards

Winegum


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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 11:19 AM

Dear Charles

Yes, the regulatory requirements (local or international, depending on the country of export) are also stated in the deviation and the effect it can have on quality, food safety and legalty if deviate from the specification/regulation.

Regards

Winegum

 

Perhaps you could elaborate a little with some quoted text, eg local, or an accessible link.  Interesting to compare with the UK expectations.

 

Frankly, IMEX, commercial agreements between suppliers / receivers are of limited official interest  from a legislatory POV in the event of a safety-related incident. Public Health authorities tend to implement  their own statutory laws.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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#8 Wine Gum

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 12:49 PM

Dear Charles

Local and international regulations wrt wine can be found at the following website:

Www.sawis.co.za

Updates to any regulation is received through the Winelaw newsletter. There is also various committees eg Winetech, where any changes/ issues are addressed.

Further to that, wine must conform to the Foodstuffs, cosmetic and disinfectants act (act 54 of 1972)- controlled by the Department of Health.
The premises must also apply for a certificate of acceptability in terms of Regulation 3(3) of the Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and the Transport of Food (Regulation no R918 of 30 July 1999 GN No 2318) framed under The Health Act, 1977 (Act no 63 of 1977).
R918 will be replaced with R 962 of 2012.


Regards

Wine Gum


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#9 Charles.C

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:01 PM

Dear Charles
Local and international regulations wrt wine can be found at the following website:
Www.sawis.co.za
Updates to any regulation is received through the Winelaw newsletter. There is also various committees eg Winetech, where any changes/ issues are addressed.

Further to that, wine must conform to the Foodstuffs, cosmetic and disinfectants act (act 54 of 1972)- controlled by the Department of Health.
The premises must also apply for a certificate of acceptability in terms of Regulation 3(3) of the Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and the Transport of Food (Regulation no R918 of 30 July 1999 GN No 2318) framed under The Health Act, 1977 (Act no 63 of 1977).
R918 will be replaced with R 962 of 2012.
Regards
Wine Gum

 

Dear Wine Gum,

 

Thanks for the link. It’s an interesting website. I downloaded a few labelling pdfs but unfortunately  could not find any information relevant to the present discussion, ie regulatory responsibilities of food copackers / labelling. Please feel free to redirect if you know a specific document.

 

Google generated, i presume, a  South African publication  (attached below)  referring  to “3rd Draft  of South African Food   Labelling   Regulations   (under   the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, No  54  of  1972)  released  mid-2007”. This Draft apparently contained  “Allergens should be listed [in the labelling] in brackets after the ingredient”.

 

I also noted this quote   –

Food safety

In  terms  of  Section  2  of  the  Food, Cosmetics  and  Disinfectants  Act  it  is  a criminal offence to sell or distribute food which is unfit for consumption or which has a foreign object in the packaging.

“This   criminal   conduct   can   be attributed to any party in the supply chain from  importer,  manufacturer,  distributor, retailer,  to  food  outlet  regardless  of actual knowledge of the foreign object in the food or the state of the foodstuff,“

 

 

Above text seems fairly comprehensive in scope in respect to potential liabilities within the food production chain. It may have been modified (expanded?) in the intervening  years of course.

 

Attached File  Label Laws (2009).pdf   293.54KB   21 downloads

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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#10 cazyncymru

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:45 PM

I think we've lost sight of the original question here.

 

We were being asked about the legality of a label in AUSTRALIA with regards to an undeclared preservative, citric acid. Somehow we've ignored that question and moved onto undeclared allergens in SOUTH AFRICA!!

 

"Fair trading laws and food laws in Australia and New Zealand require that labels do not misinform through false, misleading or deceptive representations. In Australia, this legislation includes the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) contained in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and State and Territory Fair Trading Acts and Food Acts. In Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) enforces the Competition and Consumer Act 2010."

 

dbruhn if I was you, I'd be contacting the ACCC and clarifying your position.

 

Winegum. I do the same as you, although I am following UK legislation. In the thread that Charles alludes to, you can see the discussion there. Even though I do have a responsibility under UK legislation, I believe that I have demonstrated due diligence in informing the label generator and my local Trading Standards Officer of any discrepancy.  I have looked at the Winelaw website & the sawis.co.za websites, and both seem excellent for information regarding wine production in South Africa.

 

The Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, No  54  of  1972 (November 2012) seems to be more geared towards establishment approval. However I have only skimmed through it. I stand corrected if there is more, but to be honest it's not relevant to me or my task in hand.

 

Caz


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#11 Charles.C

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:53 PM

Hi Caz,

 

You're absolutely right. One should avoid diversions.

 

Ultimately the OP is I guess a question of Food Law. So a definitive answer probably requires a Food Lawyer.

 

However, if permitted one more diversion, this US link details the reverse viewpoint, ie the risk assessment used to select the co-packer. I noted the words attorney / insurance prominently featured. Perhaps, wherever one is located, a word to the wise ...

 

http://www.ces.ncsu..../copackers.html

 

Rgds / Charles


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#12 Setanta

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 07:18 PM

I didn't think Caz was calling for NO diversions. I hope not! Eeek!


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#13 cazyncymru

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 07:07 AM

I didn't think Caz was calling for NO diversions. I hope not! Eeek!

 

 

Oh not at all; but not at the cost of the original question!


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#14 cazyncymru

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 07:40 AM

Hi Caz,

 

You're absolutely right. One should avoid diversions.

 

Ultimately the OP is I guess a question of Food Law. So a definitive answer probably requires a Food Lawyer.

 

However, if permitted one more diversion, this US link details the reverse viewpoint, ie the risk assessment used to select the co-packer. I noted the words attorney / insurance prominently featured. Perhaps, wherever one is located, a word to the wise ...

 

http://www.ces.ncsu..../copackers.html

 

Rgds / Charles

 

 

Hi Charles

 

That's a very good document as an aide memoire. Its good to see you buying into the risk assessment culture!

 

Our business is a Co-packing business. We are approved by the local authority, and as a dairy have a Health Mark number. We are also approved by DEFRA for the generation of Animal By Products. We are BRC Grade A, Soil Association & Red Tractor approved. These are things that our customers take into account when engaging us. We are also audited (to death) by the retailers to their standards. Everything is supplied to us as "free issue"; that is ingredients & packaging. Supplier approval falls with the Customers scope, although I do make my own checks! We are also fortunate that logistics also falls with the customer, so they arrange their own transport of both the ingredients and of the final goods.

 

Before we commence doing any work, we draw up a number of documents.

  • A Confidentiality Agreement; this is signed before we do any trials etc
  • A Contract between the 2 parties ; which will set out what our responsibilities are and what our liabilities are. In this agreement one of the things we stipulate that ownership of labels sits with the customer; more often or not, the first time we see a label is when it arrives (in its thousands!) on site. The retailers have vast departments and legal teams to check labels, but they too can sometimes get it wrong, you only need to look at the recall data. . We also agree nutritional testing, shelf life evaluation, micro criteria, any changes in CCP' costs  etc
  • A specification; where we agree any claims etc. This is usually in our format.

All of these documents are checked by our solicitor before being signed.

 

The customer usually draws up the artwork after they have received the signed specification.

 

As a company we also have liability insurance for our product.

 

See, now I've gone off topic!!

 

Caz


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#15 Charles.C

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 02:16 PM

Hi Caz,

 

See, now I've gone off topic!!

 

Well, i personally would have hoped that the OP found it (generically) useful, as I did. 

 

The comment regarding Liability Insurance was particularly interesting to me. IMEX this is unusual. One wonders how common this actually is ? dbruhn ?

 

Does the taking up of Liability Insurance involve an assessment  of the scope of  the Company’s FS  activities be undertaken so as to "confirm" their adequacy to support  an effective legal defense if ever necessary.?

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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#16 cazyncymru

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 03:55 PM

If you are manufacturing in the UK, and supplier to the major retailers, then it is a pre-requisite to have liability insurance.

 

Also in the UK we have to demonstrate due diligence, although not everyone does that successfully.

 

And I can only comment on the UK


Edited by cazyncymru, 07 August 2014 - 03:58 PM.

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#17 dbruhn

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 07:50 PM

Hi all,

 

Thank-you for all your help on the matter. I probably should have specified that the product in question is intended for the Australian market. I have gone through the comments and followed some of the links you have posted.

 

In the end I have contacted the company that has hired us for the packing, the label designers in charge of the label design and the Department of Health. After talking to all 3 yesterday, the company who has hired us has contacted the other companies (in charge of making the other products to go inside the end product) to get them to revise their PIF's and ingredient content. Once the other suppliers have revised their PIF's and sent them back to me I will review them and the updated label design to decide if we as a company are confident that everything is compliant.

 

It was evident that in the end after talking to the company hiring us, the label designers and one of the other manufacturing companies that they were simply unaware of food additives and the Food Standards Code. But now that I know this and I have all the contact numbers I will be reviewing everything to ensure that all is compliant, as my bosses have agreed that if they can not meet our standards then we will simply not agree to contract pack for them.


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#18 Charles.C

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 02:50 AM

Dear dbruhn,

 

Many thks for yr feedback, I presume you do not carry Liability Insurance ?  (perhaps it is uncommon in Australia?)

 

After yr discussions with the official body mentioned, did you  actually acquire any conclusion as  to yr original OP, ie as to your own legal liability ?

 

 

Next comments probably in wrong thread but nonetheless seemed apt in current flow -  

 

UK only

This  current link appears useful for onward information inc. current topic –

http://www.food.gov....enotes/hygguid/

(For example see this sub-link –

http://www.food.gov..../generalfoodlaw

 

A detailed FSA document (2009) explaining the impact of  “Due Diligence” in the UK legal arena also exists (I’m unsure if  this version is still current, maybe UK posters know more?)(and also see PS below).

Attached File  FSA, due diligence, etc,2009.pdf   233.07KB   4 downloads

And this (commercial) UK- link -

http://www.checkit.n...ness-operators/

 

the potential complexity of "Due Diligence" legal activities is amply detailed in this 2001 epistle -

http://www.consumerc...e.aspx?i=ar3338

 

I also noticed that “Due Diligence”  has been utilised to offer a (parallel) Food Standard  -

Attached File  NSF Due Diligence Standard.pdf   17.09KB   7 downloads

 

PS - also note the parallel UK-oriented labelling thread here -

http://www.ifsqn.com...l-declarations/

 

@Caz - Thks for yr additional UK info, an interesting Prerequisite.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

PPS - USA only - this document (if still valid) may have some slight interest within overall topic -

Attached File  Product Recall Insurance,USA,2007.pdf   668.28KB   4 downloads

 

Anyone interested in the  USA  minefield of legal liabilities related to allergen labelling may find the attachments in this post (and surrounding thread) of interest -

http://www.ifsqn.com...ion/#entry60905


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Charles.C






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