EU Code of Practice on claims

Introduction

Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 on the placing on the market and use of feed foresees the development of two Community Codes of good labelling practice: one for pet food and one for compound feed for food producing animals. The EU Commission recognizes that such Codes could be a useful means of achieving the objectives of modern labelling; they should lay down provisions that enable the purchaser to make informed choices and that support control authorities in applying a harmonized approach. While such an instrument is not envisioned in Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 on feed additives and premixtures, claims in this sector are common practice. In order to ensure alignment and a shared approach for both Feed Business Operators (FBOs) and authorities, FEFANA has decided to develop the EU Code of Practice on voluntary labelling particulars (claims) for feed additives and premixtures, in the view of fostering transparency, fair competition and predictability.

Rationale

Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 767/2009 on the placing on the market and use of feed defines labelling as follows:
‘Labelling’ means the attribution of any words, particulars, trademarks, brand name, pictorial matter or symbol to a feed by placing this information on any medium referring to or accompanying such feed, such as packaging, container, notice, label, document, ring, collar or the internet, including for advertising”.
This therefore allows Feed Business Operators (FBOs) to advertise their feed products, including feed additives and premixtures. However, in its Article 13, the Regulation limits the concept of claims to feed materials and compound feed:
…labelling and the presentation of feed materials and compound feed may draw particular attention to the presence or the absence of a substance in the feed, to a specific nutritional characteristic or process or to a specific function related to any of these… (§2, article 13)”.
Although this article refers to feed materials and compound feed, claims in other types of feed are also commonplace. Furthermore, Article 25 of the Regulation promotes the development and use of codes of good labelling practice to support harmonised implementation of the labelling requirements by FBOs, however restricting it to two specific codes, one for feed for food-producing animals and one for pet food.
The term “claim(s)” is neither defined nor mentioned in Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 on feed additives and premixtures. Nevertheless, it is used throughout Commission Regulation (EC) No 429/2008, when referring to “the ‘claimed’ function” declared by the applicant. In this regulatory context, FEFANA found it appropriate to develop a specific Code of Practice aiming at harmonizing the implementation of labelling by feed additives and premixtures business operators for reasons of transparency, fair competition and for the sake of predictability. In this Code of Practice, the term “voluntary labelling particulars” is used instead of the term “claims”, although understood having the same meaning.

Process

In order to ensure as much as possible alignment along the European feed sector, all the relevant codes already in use were taken into account while developing the FEFANA CoP. These are the “Code of good practice for the labelling of compound feed for food producing animals” developed jointly by FEFAC and Copa-Cogeca, and the “Code of good labelling practice for pet food” developed by FEDIAF. Complementarily to these documents, the aim of the FEFANA Code is:

  • to improve the appropriateness of labelling, and
  • to bring a common understanding with regard to the rules applicable to voluntary labelling;

As a result, all different types of feed are addressed.

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