Scottish consumers given food label guide

02nd July 2010 - Fine Cut

Consumers in Scotland have been given a booklet explaining the country of origin labels found on food.

According to Packaging News, the 22 page booklet was produced by the Scottish Government and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The 'Country of Origin Labelling Guide' is a free A5 booklet, that will explain to customers how country of origin information works. The leaflet will pay particular attention to fresh produce and meat products and will feature examples based on actual food labels.

The booklet will also give an explanation of many of the terms and logos found on food labels.

A spokesperson for the FSA in Scotland told Packaging News: "Country of origin rules are complex and under the present food labelling legislation, foods such as beef and certain fruit and vegetable must have labels saying which country they have come from.

"However, foods such as ham, pies, sausages and ready meals only include this information if it's misleading to the consumer without it."

The booklet was produced as part of the Scottish Government's National Food and Drink Policy, after several pieces of research indicated consumer's interest in meat products and other fresh foods such as fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables.

Consumers highlighted that they were sometimes confused by the descriptions and terms used on food labels, but despite this, the FSA said there are no plans for a similar publication to be made available for consumers in England and Wales. 

At the launch of the guide, Richard Lockhead, secretary of state for rural affairs said: "This guide will give consumers greater understanding of complex origin rules and confidence that they are buying authentic Scottish produce, as opposed to cheap imitations."

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