The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has requested a labelling pragmatism for products containing sunflower oil due to the lack of availability of the ingredient following Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.
The trade union claimed this move will prevent fraud and give members the flexibility to source other available oils. While retaining all the controls and checks necessary to keep consumers safe and maintain product availability.
When changing labels, retailers will look to replace the reference to sunflower oil in the ingredient list for the following: “Vegetable oils followed immediately by a list of indications of specific vegetable origin and may be followed by the phrase ‘in varying proportions”.
Businesses must communicate the substitution of ingredients in the label change, not doing so will result in a food safety risk.
In cases where sunflower oil is a feature – because it is part of the product name for example – consideration must be given to consumers so they aren’t misled about the featured ingredient having been substituted.
Companies are encouraged to be as accurate as possible when listing oils contained in their products and are advised not to use the word “shortage” or anything equivalent to avoid consumer concerns and panic buying.
“We have been in discussions with Government and enforcement agencies to find a pragmatic approach giving information to consumers where different oils need to be substituted at short notice and may differ from those labelled,” the BRC director of food policy Andrew Opie said.
“Our briefing gives you the best guidance on what food businesses should do.”