Labelling fats and oils

The law relating to the labelling of fats and oils is governed by the Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) and the Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) (England) Regulations 2008 and the Food Labelling Regulations 1996, as amended.

The Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) and the Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) (England) Regulations 2008 revoked the Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) Regulations 1990, in so far as they applied to England, the Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) (England) Regulations 1999 and the Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2007.

Vitamin content for spreadable fats

Subject to certain exemptions, it is illegal to sell margarine unless in every 100 grams it contains between 800 and 1,000 micrograms of vitamin A and between 7.05 and 8.82 micrograms of vitamin D and a proportionate amount in any part of 100 grams.

The exceptions are as follows:

  • for spreadable fats which are imported into England from another EEA State (other than a member State) in which it was lawfully produced and sold or from another EEA State via another part of the United Kingdom and is suitably labelled to indicate the nature of the spreadable fat;
  • for margarines imported into England from an EEA State in which it was lawfully produced and sold, or from a member State in which it was in free circulation and lawfully sold, or from another part of the United Kingdom in which it was lawfully produced and sold or in free circulation and lawfully sold and is suitably labelled to indicate the nature of the margarine.

Failure to comply with the Regulations

Contravention of the Regulations is a criminal offence punishable by way of a fine. Contravention of the following “Community provisions” is also a criminal offence punishable by way of a fine:

  • article 114(1) of Council Regulation EC/1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products. Article 114(1) should be read in conjunction with Annex XII of those Regulations;
  • article 115 of Council Regulation EC/1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products. Article 115 should be read in conjunction with Annex XV to Council Regulation EC/1234/2007, Articles, 1, 2 and 3 ofCommission Regulation EC/445/2007 laying down certain detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation EC/2991/94 laying down standards for spreadable fats and of Council Regulation EEC/1898/87 on the protection of designations used in the marketing of milk and milk products and Annexes I, II and III of those Regulations.