Agency encourages clearer food labelling

Meat processors should ensure that their labelling meets the new standards set by the FSA in its revised guidance on clear labelling for food packaging.

The Agency consulted more than 1200 stakeholders' organisations about the labelling guidance it issued in 2002. The revised guidance reflects concerns that some of the existing labels containing information about food content are too small for many people - particularly those who are elderly or who have visual impairments.

Stephen Pugh, head of the food labelling branch at the Food Standards Agency, said: "One of consumers' concerns about labelling is whether they can easily find the information they feel they need. The FSA's revised guidance encourages food manufacturers to provide information in a way that is clear and legible."

In the revised guidance, the Agency suggests using black type on a white background and retains the suggestion that manufacturers should use at least 8 point font size for essential information, especially when safety is concerned.

The new guidance comes as the European Union is looking into ways of improving clarity throughout the EU, including addressing the issue of font size. The Agency has recently consulted on this proposal.