Food Information Regulations Unstuck

Labelling experts launch FIR compliant software & offer advice in advance of the new legislation

With summer still ahead of us, the festive season may feel a long way off. On the 13th December 2014 however - amid many food providers busiest time of the year - the EU’s new Food Information Regulation (FIR) will come into force. For consumers this will mean that the presence of any one of 14 potential allergens*, must be made known to them - most commonly through on-pack labelling. For food providers however, producing legislatively compliant labelling has proven more of a sticking point. So with yet more changes on the horizon, labelling experts Planglow have launched a new FIR compliant version of LabelLogic along with some straight talking advice.

Six months in development, the revised LabelLogic is fully FIR compliant and also offers a number of new functions to ensure labelling products remains a simple, straightforward and speedy process. This includes AutoAllergen - a function that automatically bolds allergens within the ingredients lists without the need to retype your product information - and is entirely unique to Planglow. Planglow is the only labelling software provider to offer this function, which saves the user hours of painstaking data entry.

The newly enhanced LabelLogic offers:

  • AutoAllergen
  • FIR compliant nutritional box
  • Quick-tick-box that supports reduced labellers in highlighting allergens at the click of their mouse

Available now and completely free of charge, existing customers can download an update online.

COMING SOON: Auto calculation of reference intakes which is in line with the government’s front of pack nutrition labelling.

With expertise spanning four decades, Planglow employs a dedicated labelling support team with more than 100 years of combined industry experience. Last year, Planglow anticipated the potential problems the FIR may cause some providers and began developing enhanced versions of its market leading labelling software programs – LabelLogic and NutriLogic - to better support the industry moving forward.

While Planglow has now branched out into an extensive range of eco packaging, food safety products, ticketing and display items too, when the company was founded in the late Eighties, it was originally as a label and labelling software provider specifically to the catering industry. Developed by the company’s MD John Scott - LabelLogic was the first software program to market. For 28 years it has remained the most trusted - as well as quick and easy to use - self-labelling computer programmes available to caterers.

In 2002 Planglow launched NutriLogic to better support food providers looking to include nutritional information on their labelling. Like LabelLogic, NutriLogic remains one of the most accessible, speedy and simple-to-use methods for calculating and adding nutritional data on labels and ticketing.

Planglow’s managing director John Scott offers some practical advice to the new legislation.

“First and foremost you’ll need to ascertain whether you’re a full or a reduced labeller. If your produce is made fresh and sold on-site, or sold by staff directly employed by the same business through a van, further premises and so on - but is still a part of your business - then you are a reduced labeller. For everyone else you’re a full labeller. If you buy in from another provider but sell under your own name, you’re also a full labeller.

Reduced Labellers

“Reduced labellers don’t actually have to provide information on pack - it can be given verbally, on a ticket, blackboard or other form of notice instead. However, your customers must now have access to information regarding the presence of any one of the 14 most common allergens* as identified by the EU, plus any irradiated or GM ingredients. The declaration of allergens is one of the key new (NEW) parts of the legislation.

“To assist with this, we have built a quick tick box into LabelLogic which automatically adds items to the ‘contains’ ‘allergens’ field as appropriate. A use by date is optional for reduced labellers but the British Sandwich Association recommends including this as best practice.

“If you choose to label products you must include a title or name which cannot be misleading. So calling a sandwich something like a ‘Sal’s Smokin’ Hot BLT’ would not be advisable as it is unclear what the product is, as well as whether it’s smoked, spicy, served hot or any of the above.

Full Labellers

“As a starting point, full labellers need to include all of the same information as the reduced labeller. For full labellers however, the date mark (most commonly ‘Use by’ due to the perishable nature of the ingredients) is a legal requirement. The title, description, ‘contains’ (this covers any GM or irradiated foods) and ‘allergens’ are also required by law. Another NEW part of the legislation states that the net quantity or weight must also be included - though not for sandwiches where the quantity is clearly one (sandwich) - and this must be given in the same field of view as the title of the food i.e. front of pack. The name and address of your premises must be stated on the label too and - where appropriate - storage conditions and instructions for use are also required.

“The NEW regulations also state that full labellers must include an ingredients list which highlights the same 14 potential allergens as mentioned previously. LabelLogic will now automatically bold these allergens within your ingredients list for you, saving you from a lengthy and tedious exercise in data entry.

“The ingredients list must also state Quantitive Ingredient Declarations (QUIDS) which our LabelLogic software will calculate for you. The final two NEW legislative changes state that: text must now be the equivalent or greater than 1.2mm of the letter ‘x’ height - which is the equivalent of 6pt (6pt in arial); and all additives and compound ingredients need to be listed as well. If, for example, you use a mayonnaise in your sandwiches, you will need to list the individual ingredients and percentages that make the mayonnaise too. And as the accuracy of all information provided on pack is now the sole responsibility of the seller, you will need to be one hundred per cent certain of what your products contain!

“These final two points could have a significant impact on the layout as well as marketing information stated on the label, so it is advisable to seek label design advice as soon as possible. Planglow has a team of account managers and design experts that are able to offer guidance throughout this process.

“From the 13th December 2016, full labellers will also be required to include the following nutritional information: energy value; fat; saturates; carbohydrate; sugars; protein; and salt. These must be listed in that order and expressed as 100g, usually given in tabular form. If providers wish to do so before this date, they may do so on a voluntary basis. Planglow’s software update has an FIR compliant nutrition box for your labels which existing customers can add and their data will automatically transfer across”.

For further information on FIR compliant labelling, LabelLogic, NutriLogic or any of Planglow’s 400+ packaging and labelling products, please visit www.planglow.com


*Cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soybeans, milk, nuts, celery, mustard, sesame seeds, sulphar dioxide and sulphites, lupin and molluscs.

Notes to Editors

With over 25 years industry experience, Planglow is a recognised market-leader for both the supply and bespoke design of branded labels, food safety labels and compostable packaging to the catering industry.

Planglow’s pioneering software LabelLogic and NutriLogic are simple but effective programs that enable users to label products quickly, efficiently and stylishly, as well as with nutritional information - if they so desire - remaining fully compliant with labelling legislation at all times.

Planglow supply products to caterers of all sizes, from independent cafés right through to multi-site contract caterers, and everything in between. The company currently offers more than 400 product lines including sandwich and salad packaging, lids, bags, menus and labels.

Site sponsors