7 (and a half) food law changes coming into force in 2023

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10 Jan, 2023

Keeping your products compliant with the latest industry legislation is easier said than done. Especially if you’re selling internationally. 

To make life a little easier, Hooley Brown has put together a round-up of key food and beverage legislation coming into force during 2023 – plus one delayed discussion that may become law this year:

LAW 1: sesame becomes a major food allergen 

Where: USA
When: from 1st January 2023 

America’s FASTER act came into force at the start of 2023, declaring sesame as the USA’s ninth major food allergen. As a result, any products containing sesame seeds, sesame oil, tahini or other sesame derivatives must clearly state this ingredient on the packaging/label.

Read more: everything you need to know about mandatory food allergen labelling. 

LAW 2: no more PFAS in food packaging

Where: USA
When: from 1st January 2023 

Several US states will outlaw adding per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) to certain food packaging in 2023, starting with New York and California – which brought the ban into place on 1st January. Washington already enforces this legislation, and another seven states will follow suit during this year and next. 

PFAS is often used to make plant and paper-based food packaging grease-resistant. However, this packaging is difficult to dispose of as PFAS does not break down easily in the environment and can ‘bioaccumulate’ in animals and humans. 

While pressure to eradicate PFAS will increase throughout 2023, it’s important to note that there are currently no plans to introduce Federal laws banning its use. 

LAW 3: more detailed product information on alcohol labels  

Where: USA/EU
When: from 1st January 2023 

After decades of lobbying by consumer groups, the US government is taking steps towards standardising alcohol labelling in 2023. Although an official deadline is yet to be announced, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has confirmed it will issue new rules on alcohol content and calorie labelling across beers, distilled spirits and wines. It will also decide whether mandatory ingredient labelling is required to provide the same level of content detail as the labels on soft drinks. 

Across the pond, the EU intends to enforce new legislation requiring wines sold in countries under its jurisdiction to list all ingredients – not just allergens – from the end of 2023. Brands might soon be able to provide a QR code linking to a full ingredients list and nutritional information rather than trying to fit information on the physical product label. 

LAW 4: tighter legislation on vegan product labelling

Where: India
When: from 26th January 2023

There’s been much debate about whether we need more precise labelling for vegetarian and vegan products. Sadly, the ‘grey areas’ around vegan food manufacturing made headlines in 2022 when a UK woman with a severe dairy allergy died after eating a shop-bought wrap labelled as suitable for vegans. Some countries want clearer guidelines to prevent similar tragedies from happening in future. 

For example, India has launched its first regulation defining what makes food suitable for vegans. Following a six-month extension, from the end of January 2023, all packaged vegan food products sold in India must be marked with a plant-based logo to show compliance with the new rules. With this policy, India is building on an existing requirement to mark food as vegetarian and non-vegetarian using a green or brown dot.

LAW 5: HFSS will extend to cover multi-buys

Where: UK
When: from 1st October 2023 

Following the introduction of regulations regarding the sale of foods with high salt, sugar or fat content in the UK in October 2022, HFSS legislation will expand this year. 

Since October 2022, there have been restrictions on where retailers can promote HFSS products online and in-store, preventing high-fat and sugary foods from being marketed in premium locations. From October 2023, UK supermarkets will no longer be able to run multi-buy promotions such as 3 for 2 or buy one, get one free on HFSS products. 

LAW 6: certain processed foods will receive a black mark

Where: Argentina
When: October 2023

In 2022, Argentinian lawmakers decided to label certain processed food with an octagonal black label by October. This follows the introduction of mandatory labelling legislation in other Latin American countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. 

The warning label must appear on any food with added fat, sugar or salt that exceeds threshold amounts of energy, fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium per 100g outlined in the new legislation by October 2023. There are also separate warnings for products containing caffeine and sweeteners, which are not recommended for children. 

LAW 7: the definition of ‘healthy’ will evolve

Where: USA
When: TBC

One ‘work in progress’ law worth mentioning is the FDA’s plans to update the criteria for healthy food. Currently, guidelines state that the term “healthy” can be used when labelling food that is consistent with helping people meet dietary recommendations for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and other beneficial nutrient consumption. However, the view on fat has changed since this legislation was introduced.

For example, when the US nutrition facts panel was modernised in 2016, the maximum recommended daily fat intake was increased from 65g to 78g. Equally, beneficial vitamins A&C were replaced as mandatory nutrients by vitamin D and potassium.  

In October 2022, the organisation proposed a new set of rules for the product claim “healthy”, in line with the latest nutrition science and Federal dietary guidance outlined above. As a result of these changes, certain higher-fat foods like salmon, nuts and seeds previously excluded from such claims will now be able to use the term healthy in their marketing and advertising. 

The move should help US consumers make better food choices, contributing to lower national obesity levels.

Another law on the radar… 

What: standard front-of-pack labelling

Where: EU
When: 2023 or 2024 

The European Commission had planned to announce a standardised front-of-pack labelling system across the EU in 2023. However, recently the organisation admitted that the new framework is likely to be announced in 2024. 

There have been heated discussions about the best format for a standard front-of-pack label. The Nutri-Score system – developed in France and widely adopted across the Benelux region, Germany, Spain and Switzerland – was a front-runner initially until Italy decided to ban Italian companies from using the system. 

Keep your products compliant with international food law in 2023 

We’ve shared a few examples of how food and drink laws will change in 2023 – there are many more we don’t have time to cover. Undoubtedly other regulations will be tabled over the next 12 months, like Romania’s plans to reduce drinks waste by launching a nationwide deposit-return scheme

Keeping up with the latest food industry guidelines is a challenge for consumer brands – but you don’t want to risk product non-compliance. That’s where Hooley Brown comes in. 

We’re experts in international food law and product labelling compliance. It’s our job to know the latest legislation and review your goods and their packaging to make sure you’re meeting mandatory requirements. 

For support with your product compliance in 2023, get in touch with us to arrange a free 30-minute consultation call.

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