FSA encourages better use of food labelling marketing terms

The Food Standards Agency has revised its guidance on the use of marketing terms, such as 'fresh', 'pure' and 'natural' for food labelling.

It follows the FSA's consultation with more than 1,200 stakeholder organisations about the labelling guidance that it issued in 2002.

The revised guidance includes advice on the use of new terms. These include: farmhouse pâté, handmade, quality, selected, premium, finest and best.

It also has new advice for some of the terms that were in the previous guidance - and advises against the use of some terms that can cause confusion.

"Marketing terms are useful to enable industry to differentiate their products but need to be used in a way that is meaningful to consumers,"said Stephen Pugh, head of the Food Labelling Branch at the Food Standards Agency.

"In our guidance, developed with consumer organisations, industry and enforcement bodies, we have suggested the conditions when certain marketing terms can be used. These conditions reflect current consumer understanding and perceptions of these terms."

The FSA added that the new guidance is aimed at helping manufacturers, producers, retailers and caterers decide when these descriptions may be used and when they should not. It said that use of these terms as set out in the guidance would benefit consumers, by encouraging consistent, transparent labelling practices.