Trading standards and Defra relax rules on labelling as egg packaging shortages bite

Surplus eggs from the food service sector are being reallocated where possible into the retail sector but this is putting availability of packaging under pressure.

According to the NFU, it is likely the industry will start to only be able to access a limited number of egg pack sizes in order to maximise production in the manufacturing process and the NFU said it had already started to talk to retailers about this potential change and ways changes such as this can be managed in order to cause minimal disruption.

Following industry requests, Defra has agreed to temporarily take a more flexible approach to labelling requirements, should this be needed due to packaging shortages. Trading Standards has been sent the following guidance, allowing businesses to adopt a more flexible approach.

“In response to sudden changes in food supply chains as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FSA and Defra have agreed that in exceptional circumstances, where safety and authenticity are not compromised, local authority enforcement officers can give food businesses temporary flexibility on certain rules on food labelling.

“Our overriding concern is to protect consumer safety. It will be for enforcement officials to work with food businesses on a case-by-case basis to determine the precise nature of any temporary deviation from labelling requirements. They must ensure that consumers are not detrimentally misled and that food is safe.

“Any deviations from current requirements should be tightly controlled to reduce the potential for deliberate misdescription, fraudulent activity or the supply of unsafe or potentially unsafe food.”

Businesses are advised to talk to their trading standards office if they need more advice or guidance.

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