BRC and FDF launch ‘free from’ guidance for the food industry

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has released a ‘free from’ guidance document to advise retailers, producers and authorities on how to make a free-from claim on a product.

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There are currently no specific rules at UK or EU level which govern manufacturers of free-from foods claims that their products are in fact ‘free from’, which would allow for consistent labeling and practises across the industry. However the British Retail Consortium has recently collaborated with the Food and Drink Federation, Coeliac UK and Anaphylaxis Campaign to produce the guide in order to regulate free-from claims on food and drink packaging.

This means that following the publication of this new guide, all claims made on food labels must be substantiated and reliable to be considered safe for consumers. At present, with the exception of ‘gluten-free’, there are no specific rules at either UK or EU level governing the use of ‘free-from’ claims. Neither is there any publicly available guidance for businesses on making such claims. The aim is to ensure that ‘free-from’ claims are applied accurately and consistently across the whole food industry. The organisations involved agree that a decision to make a ‘free from’ claim cannot be taken lightly.

“A ‘free-from’ claim cannot be taken lightly. A small manufacturer could now confidently understand whether producing a ‘free-from’ product is within their capability. It will also result in more consistency which means more consumer trust as acknowledged in the foreword to the Guidance by FSA Chief Executive Catherine Brown.”Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, BRC’s deputy food director

“This Guidance on ‘free-from’, which follows on from the publication earlier this year of FDF’s Gluten Labelling Guidance, is going to provide food businesses with key information on legal requirements, risk assessment and consumer expectations. We are pleased that our long standing collaboration with the British Retail Consortium, Anaphylaxis Campaign and Coeliac UK is continuing to deliver useful advice to businesses and ultimately more consistent labelling for consumers.”Food and Drink Federation’s chief scientist and policy and sustainability director, Barbara Gallani

You can read the guidance here.