The proposal is one of several food labelling rule changes announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which said it had pushed for “stronger labelling across the whole of the EU” and was now implementing those rules in the UK.
However, Defra added that implementation of mandatory country-of-origin labelling on meat products would be "subject to [European] Commission rules".
Minister of State for Agriculture and Food David Heath said: “The government is tightening up rules to make it easier for shoppers to make more informed decisions for themselves and their families at the tills. We fought long and hard in Europe for more honest labelling so that people can make up their own minds about what they eat.”
Other labelling changes include requirements for processors to announce whether products contain palm oil or nanomaterial ingredients, and for foodservice outlets to provide allergen advice.
Defra said the new rules would consolidate 14 pieces of legislation into one, “cutting red tape for businesses”. However, it added that it would allow a “reasonable” amount of time for processors to adapt to the new rules.
The exact details of the new rules and how they will be implemented have not yet been announced and Defra said it was encouraging industry to respond to a consultation on the regulations.