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Food and Licensing Initiatives and Issues

Food and Licensing Initiatives and Issues

Food Labelling

New food labelling rules came into force in December 2014. The Food Information (Scotland) Regulations 2014 implements the EU rules (Regulation (EC) No 1169/2011) and brings together general food labelling, allergens and nutrition into one piece of legislation. This is enforced by Environmental Health.

The main changes are:

  • Allergen information for prepacked foods must be emphasised in a way that distinguishes allergens from other ingredients. For non-prepacked foods (including catering), allergen information must be made available to all consumers.
  • Nutrition labelling will be required for most pre-packed foods from December 2016 and this must be presented in a consistent format.
  • A minimum font size will be introduced for mandatory information. This also extends to voluntary front of pack (FOP) nutrition information.
  • Country of origin information will be required for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of sheep, pigs, goats and poultry from 1 April 2015.
  • Date of freezing (or first freezing where products have been frozen more than once) will be required for frozen meat, frozen meat preparations and frozen unprocessed fishery products sold as such to customers.
  • Added water over 5% must be declared in the name of the food for meat products and meat preparations which have the appearance of a cut, joint, slice, portion or carcass of meat. The same will apply to fishery products which have the appearance of a cut, joint, slice, portion, filet or whole fishery product.

The new allergen requirements will mean that consumers can now ask for information about 14 allergens when buying food or eating out and businesses are obliged to provide this important information. All allergenic information will require to be emphasised on the ingredients list of prepacked food by using bold, coloured or italic font. This information also requires to provided when food is served loose and this can be detailed on a menu, chalkboard or signposted for staff to answer specific enquiries.

Food labelling is often perceived as a complex subject. The statutory requirements regarding what information must be supplied and in what manner can be very confusing. Comprehensive advice is available from the Environmental Health Team. We are available to answer any enquiries regarding food labelling and we would encourage local manufacturers to contact us with copies of any new labels prior to printing and circulation. This can often save considerable expense from producing labels which do not comply and have to be reproduced.

Additional information can also be obtained from the Food Standards Scotland (FSS) website

Allergy: What to consider when labelling food
A guide for small and medium businesses that make or sell prepacked food

Allergen Information for Loose Foods
Advice on the new Food Information Regulations for small and medium businesses

Technical guidance for food business operators:

Example of an Allergen Signpost suitable for caterers:

Template menu allergen matrix:

New Thinking on Cross Contamination

Scientific research suggests that methods traditionally used to control cross contamination are not as safe as previously thought.

The Food Standards Agency has produced guidance which is based upon this research. The guidance states that the safest and most reliable way to prevent cross contamination from raw food is by introducing complete physical separation. This would mean having completely separate equipment, food preparation areas and storage.

This guidance is based upon the text of the latest version of the Food Standards Agency's CookSafe manual and has been produced to inform Food Business Operators (FBOs) of the ways in which they can help to keep their customers free from food poisoning. It also explains the changes to the way in which food hygiene inspections will be carried out and how the current law will be enforced.

Our information leaflet on preventing cross contamination can be viewed via this page. Further guidance on these changes can be found by following the links below:

Waste Cooking Oil From Catering Premises

All caterers who use cooking oil are aware that it must be disposed of in a sensible and responsible manner.  A lot of problems are caused by waste cooking oil and other fats and grease from the cooking process getting into the public sewer and causing blockages and damage.  This may not only be illegal but can cause a lot of aggravation for all those using the sewer, be a public health nuisance and end up costing the business a lot of money to remedy the situation. 

A simple precaution is to fit a grease trap which prevents the grease from entering the sewer by separating it out from the waste water.  Regular cleaning of the trap is needed to ensure it operates correctly.  All waste oil must be collected by a waste company which will dispose of it properly.

There have been changes to what waste cooking oil can be used for once collected.  It is now illegal for it to be used in animal feed. 

It is anticipated that the majority of catering premises will be able to continue to have their waste cooking oil taken away by their usual collectors. However, the collector will now be expected to supply the waste cooking oil to either the biodiesel producers as a raw material for transport fuel, to incinerators who will be able to use it in the generation of electricity, or for other uses such as in the olechemical industry. 

If you want more information on this change, you can refer to the Food Standards Agency Waste Cooking Oil page.

For Further Information Contact

Environmental Health
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000