Based on EU Regulation 767/2009 on the Marketing and Use of Feed from 2009, the first edition of the FEDIAF Code of Good Labeling Practice was already endorsed a first time by the EU and Member States back in 2011.
Following modifications in the EU Regulation and numerous suggestions for improvements of the Code from stakeholders, particularly constructive from Member States, FEDIAF developed a 70-page revised version of the Code.
The FEDIAF Code clarifies questions such as: How to label ingredients or additives? Which consumer-friendly terms should be used? What stands behind the legal terms “meat and animal derivatives” on the label? How are concentrated, dried ingredients mentioned on the label? Is it allowed to highlight functional health benefits of pet food products? How do labeling rules apply to online trade and promotions?
The EU Regulation lays down key labeling requirements for pet food - however, these need explanation, interpretation, examples and clarifications, on how these work in practice. Instead of having different interpretations of labeling rules in the 28 EU Member States, the Code provides thereby clear guidance leading to better and harmonized labeling throughout the EU.
A large section of the Code is dedicated to explaining how to make product claims and how these must be scientifically substantiated: accurate, truthful and understandable for the purchaser. The Code, effectively implemented and used by national authorities, is thus also a tool to avoid misleading claims and to create a level playing field between industry operators.
Some labeling regulations being somewhat technical, FEDIAF included again a special “Guide for Customers” or “Layman’s Guide” explaining in easy language what pet owners read on the label.
As the next step, FEDIAF will work on a detailed digital training package destined in particular to pet food companies and authorities to promote the Code’s uniform application throughout the EU.
By Lindsay Beaton
This country is straddling the line between developing and developed as more of its citizens see the value in pet ownership.
By Lindsay Beaton