Yolanda Simonsis is a 38-year veteran of the packaging and converting industries. She has held past editorial positions with two former publications of Delta Communications and Cahners...more

Brussels Regulations To Impact Print/Packaging Industry

Today I received a press release from Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, UK, that reports on European Commission regulations due for enforcement next month that could severely impact product producers (i.e., brand owners in particular, but end users and supermarkets will also be impacted) with the legal responsibility for ensuring that information on a label is "correct" in terms of many things, including the following:

  • ingredient lists
  • nutrition information
  • contact details
  • food source
  • font size

Starting December 13, 2014, the relevant documentation comes under Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, and will replace current requirements for the labeling of foodstuffs described in Directive 2000/13/EC and the nutrition labeling requirement of Directive 90/496/EEC.

What this means to Eu Printers

What it all comes down to for the printer, according to the press release from Industrial Inkjet Ltd., is that run lengths may become a fraction of previous runs, which can also translate into enormous costs for employing traditional flexo or litho printing. "Suddenly, digital print looks attractive, and will become a 'must have' investment for thousands of printers across Europe."

The problems these rules may generate certainly will impact food companies, although some feel these companies are viewing it as someone else's problem. The bigger question is, what will printers and others in the supply chain do once the regulations take effect? John Bambery, chairman of the British Printing Industries Federation's (BPIF) Labels Group comments: "Countless artwork has to be changed to meet the deadline in December. Morrison's is one supermarket chain that went on record more than a year ago to confirm that it will need to change 10,000 details on product labels alone. My take is that the only way of doing it cost effectively is digitally, which creates a massive business opportunity for those with digital equipment."

Among the requirements is the necessity to increase font sizes on packaging, which may require the need of offering only one language/package, which means more variation and shorter runs of different artwork.

It appears that the UK has a voluntary code that complies with the EC rules, according to Bambery. "So if they don't comply, they are not actually breaking the regulations as they haven't been enshrined into UK law."

Will your business be impacted by the new rules?

What have you done in preparation of the December 14 deadline?

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