Changes to food labelling will be applied from 13 December 2014. They will help provide allergen information in a clearer and more consistent way. For example, any of the 14 allergens that are on the regulatory list will be emphasised on the label of a pre-packaged food if they are used as ingredients.
The new piece of European legislation is called the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC). It will change the way allergen information appears on labels and on food that is pre-packed, sold loose or served when one is eating outside of the home.
Any of the 14 allergens that are on the regulatory list will be emphasised on the label, if they are used as ingredients in a pre-packaged food. Businesses can choose what method they want to use to emphasise these allergens, for example, by listing them in bold, italics, highlighted or underlined, to help identify them.
- Information about allergenic ingredients will be located in a single place, i.e. the ingredients list on pre-packed food. This means that the voluntary use of the current types of allergy boxes (such as: ‘Contains nuts’) that provide a short cut to allergen information also given in the ingredients list, will no longer be allowed.
- Loose foods (that can be bought without packaging) for example in supermarkets, delis, cafes and restaurants; with any of the 14 allergens used as ingredients will need information provided.
The 14 allergens are:
- crustaceans (for example crab, lobster, crayfish, shrimp, prawn)
- molluscs (for example mussels, oysters, squid)
- tree nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazils, pistachios, macadamia nuts or Queensland nuts)
- sesame seeds
- cereals containing gluten (wheat (such as spelt, Khorasan wheat/Kamut), rye, barley, oats, or their hybridised strains).
- celery and celeriac
- sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at concentration of more than ten parts per million)
Although we are not experts on VAT we thought that this would be of interest:
From 1 January 2015, EU VAT will be charged in the country where products are bought as opposed to the country where they are sold. The legislation applies to digital products only, such as e-books, online courses or downloads.
UK businesses are currently exempt from paying VAT if they sell under £81,000 worth of products a year. However all sales of relevant digital services to EU customers outside the UK will be subject to the local VAT regardless of the value of the sales as there is no minimum threshold.
The only way to comply is to register for VAT with that country or register for HMRCs Mini One Stop Shop scheme (VAT MOSS). This requires businesses to submit a ‘single calendar quarterly return’ and VAT payment to HMRC, which then sends the ‘appropriate information and payment to each relevant member state’s tax authority.’
The UK threshold of £81,000 is not being removed and micro-businesses selling digital services to customers in the UK can still trade VAT free as long as they are below the threshold. The issue is that once a business is registered for UK VAT, the threshold no longer applies and all UK sales become liable for UK VAT.
Although a business needs to have a UK VAT registration number before it can register for the Mini One Stop Shop online service, provided it separates the cross-border part of its digital services business from the domestic part, it can voluntarily register for VAT on the cross-border business only.
HMRC hold the view that most micro-businesses, such as developers of apps or digital downloads, trade through a third party platform or marketplace, like an app store. It will then be the responsibility of the marketplace operator to account for the VAT. As a result HMRC think that the vast majority of micro-businesses are unlikely to be affected by the changes.