ACE Group advised Tuesday that companies in the food and drink industry could face more claims from consumers as a result of new European food labeling regulations that come into force later this year.

The purpose of the new regulation is to make food labeling easier for consumers to understand. It will streamline and simplify the current legislation on food and nutrition labeling into a single EU regulation. Under the new legislation, all food businesses will be required to provide allergy information on food sold unpackaged in catering outlets and shops. Existing legislation on labeling will include changes regarding the inclusion of novel ingredients such as nanotechnology and the types of vegetable oil or other ingredients in pre-packed foods.

Connie Germano, regional technical and underwriting casualty manager for Continental Europe at ACE said: “This important new EU legislation should help reduce the risk of accidental contamination for consumers. As the regulation is rolled out across Europe and public awareness grows, another consequence is that it may drive increased product liability exposure for a wide range of businesses involved in the food production and distribution chain.

“Today a contamination incident can develop into a full-blown crisis for a business almost instantly,” she said, recommending comprehensive insurance combined with advance risk assessment, robust food safety systems and crisis management.

Eric Smith, Head of Food Safety and Product Recall for crisis management firm red24assist said that the new labeling regulations cover a wide range of foods, including beverages and wine, also requiring statutory information on water and fat content of specific foods.

The regulation repeals EC Directive 90/496/EEC on nutrition labeling for foodstuffs and EC Directive 2000/13/EC on food labeling (among others) and seeks to combine these two directives into one main statute. The new rules will apply from January 2014 for specific items proceeded by further statutory changes from Dec. 13, 2014 and will be fully implemented as of Dec. 13, 2016.

ACE’s announcement went on to describe the features of the carrier’s contaminated product insurance for middle-market companies in Continental Europe.

Source: ACE Group