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Rules for indicating the country of origin of ingredient of a food


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#1 BigGaz1982

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 03:37 PM

Hi all

 

Please can I have some input on this.

 

We have on the Back of Pack (BOP) "Produced in the UK by ..." statement that confirms that our product is produced in the UK.

We source ingredients from the UK, EU and World in the form or raw materials, and turn them into a completely different product. Article 2(3) of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 states:

 

"Goods the production of which involves more than one country or territory shall be deemed to originate in the country or territory where they underwent their last, substantial, economically-justified processing or working, in an undertaking equipped for that purpose, resulting in the manufacture of a new product or representing an important stage of manufacture."

 

Under this, our product is most certainly Produced in the UK.

 

However, I am getting conflicting information when it comes to Guidance on Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775 of 28 May 2018 on the provision of food information to consumers, as regards the rules for indicating the country of origin or place of provenance of the primary ingredient of a food.

 

The guidance notes from the BRC would indicate that adhering to the upper most statement would actually be in conflict with the regulations - putting my brain in a loop.

 

The largest ingredient in our product is Fortified Wheat Flour, of which, wheat and statutory additives are sourced from the UK. EU and outside the EU and blended to make a specification of flour for us. This is milling is done in the UK.

 

Where do we stand in regards to this regulation. Does the product meet Article 2(3) of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011, or does it not as per 2018/775??



#2 pHruit

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 06:31 PM

IMO this is one the shabbier bits of 1169/2011 - it's well established for commerce of food and non-food items (tax, import duties, tariff agreements etc) that the "country of origin" is the place in which the product is manufactured, but the relatively direct implementation leaves so much scope for confusing consumers. For example, if I squeeze Brazilian oranges in the UK then the country of origin of the resulting orange juice is the UK, even though we obviously aren't a big producer of citrus (our climate is too sunny and warm ;) ).

 

Without knowing the specifics of your product, at face value it sounds like you may trigger the additional "place of provenance" (i.e. where the ingredients were actually grown/raised) requirement - see Article 26 (3) of 1169/2011.

If there is a risk that stating UK origin may mislead the consumer into thinking that the whole product is from the UK - even if only inadvertently as a result of following the specific if slightly odd requirement in the regs - then you'd probably be obliged to also indicate the "place of provenance" of the primary ingredient, which is where 2018/775 comes in. I've attached a general guidance doc on this from FoodDrinkEurope.

 

Determining the primary ingredient itself can be a bit of a minefield, as for some products it's not immediately apparent what the primary ingredient(s) is/are...

May need more specifics to offer any suggestions on that!

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#3 BigGaz1982

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 07:06 PM

Thanks for wading in, I see your point with the oranges.

I’m making bread products, specifically morning goods (rolls and buns).

There is no provenance claims on the item description, simple product names like “white baps” or “seeded burger buns” and the likes.

IMO, as it stands, we firmly adhere to the first clause in that what we manufacture is a markedly different product than the sum of its parts.

Whilst Palm Oil for instance may come to our supplier from Malaysia, the difference between a bread roll and palm oil is so vast that it’s not comparable.

By the same admission though, the wheat flour falls under the example you provided for Brazilian Oranges, so no claiming the wheat flour is UK in this sense.



#4 pHruit

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 07:50 PM

OK, I fully agree that palm oil shouldn't reasonably be considered a primary ingredient.

If your flour is non-UK then there might be an argument that Article 26(3)(a) or (b) should be applied, but equally the FDE guidance on this point seems very reasonable - would a reasonable consumer (is there such a thing?) consider "produced in x" as implying that the primary ingredient and/or all ingredient originate in x?

There is of course also the note that this might change where specific emphasis is placed on the stated country of production, though.

 

It'd take me more time than I've got this evening to re-read the assorted guidance with the regs, but in any case even if I arrived at a firm conclusion it would still just be my personal opinion. If I was in your place I'd give my local Trading Standards department a call - they generally welcome businesses going out of their way to comply with regs, and they offer paid-for "assured advice" at a vastly cheaper rate than the likes of Leatherhead. It'll give you a solid footing for your position for very little cost, and as it effectively comes from a regulatory body, it can also be useful if marketing people need help being convinced that a given approach is required ;)



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