New Packaging Legislation in a Nutshell

We thought it would be helpful to give you a short overview of what it means. We will partner with you to make this a smooth transition.

The main thrust of the new legislation is to prevent manufacturers giving false or misleading information to consumers.

1 ) Labeling and Advertising Legislation

take_awayTo ensure a fair comparison and accurate communication on products and advertising, all claims and quality or beneficial expressions appearing on products are to be removed unless your product has been analysed by an accredited laboratory. In other words, if you don’t have the paperwork and ingredients to support your claim, the claim cannot be made. That means the legislation prevents the use of any misleading and ambiguous messages regarding the characteristics and benefits of foods and beverages on sale to the public.
2 ) No More False Claims

If your products have a special claim, for example “A source of” or Low in” or High in or “Free of”, you need to include a typical nutritional information table on your food packaging. Again you product needs to have been analysed by an accredited laboratory to ensure the information in this table is accurate. This will apply to all the high fiber, low GI, wholegrain, fresh statements made on food packaging.

If your products do not have any specific claims it is not compulsory to include a typical nutritional information table on your food packaging, and this space could be used to interact with your consumer in other ways.

The claim of “no sugar added” will be prohibited on any food that contains any form or type of sugar. That means, for example, that fruit juices which generally contain high levels of fruit concentrates and fructose, but no added table sugar can no longer claim no sugar added. Some omissions have been made to support slimming and diabetic products, again supporting documents must be on file to support these product claims.

The following claims are prohibited, unless proper certification is available:

to confirm or convey or declare an approval in any manner
Generic health promotion:

promotion of a healthy diet and lifestyle, by an organization/foundation. You may not display any particular brand/trademark/company, ie heart foundation, diabetic foundation unless approved according to regulations.
Health practitioner/individual claims:

any health professional referred to in the allied health professions act, dental technicians act, health professions act, pharmacy act, nursing act. Any words (including the name/trade name), pictorial representations, marks, logos, descriptions or other similar, which creates an impression that a food is supported, endorsed, complies with or has been manufactured in accordance with recommendations by Health practitioners, individually or as part of a group.

religious certifying organizations, fauna and flora related certifying and endorsing bodies are allowed ie: hallaal
3 ) Legislation on Trans-fat

Trans­fats are said to increase the risk of heart disease, therefore the legislation of trans-fats in foodstuffs has changed. Some trans­fats occur naturally in meat or dairy but the new regulations refer to those trans­fats made artificially through a chemical process of partially hydrogenating vegetable oil, turning it into a semi­solid substance.

Foods in which trans- fats account for more than 2% of the fat content, ranging from spreads to biscuits will not be allowed on supermarket shelves.

Restaurants and catering companies will also not be permitted to use trans­fats. These regulations prohibit the sale, manufacturing and importation of any processed foods exceeding 2g per 100g of partial hydrogenated fats and oils, called trans­fats.
4 – On Energy drinks

The new regulations require that drinks with more than 150mg per litre of caffeine must have a message on the main panel of the label, in bold capital letters not less than 3mm in height stating ‘HIGH CAFFEINE CONTENT’. The label will have to say in a clearly legible copy: ‘Not recommended for children under 12 years of age, pregnant women, persons sensitive to caffeine and not to be consumed as a mixture with alcohol beverages’. It will also need to include declarations on the quantity of caffeine per serving size and per 100ml, expressed in milligrams.
5 – On Barcodes

Heavy fines will be issued on inconsistent and unreadable product barcodes. It is wise to have the barcode verified by scanner on print as there are print and ink gains and fluctuations that could affect the scanning of the barcode.

A 100% barcode with no truncation should be used. Prevent reduction and truncation at all times as reduced barcodes are prone to failure as it interferes with the quiet zones (space between the first and last bars) needed for the barcode to scan. Preferably use Black or Blue colours as they read best, and never use Red as the scanner will not be able to read it.

There are a lot more intricate details not covered here but the major points are highlighted as a guide.

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