FAC Review of 'Distance Selling' of Food

United Kingdom

In the light of the increase in distance selling by reason of better technology (i.e. the internet) and the reduction in trade boundaries, the Food Standards Agency has commissioned the Food Advisory Committee (FAC):

"To review the extent to which recent developments in food/feed purchases over the internet may have created extra problems not associated with traditional forms of retail sale."

It was requested that particular consideration be given to the implications for advertising and the labelling of products. Specific areas of advice were requested in relation to:

  • any areas where current controls are insufficient;

  • any advice or guidance that should be given to consumers purchasing goods in this way;

  • guidance on how local authorities might check on the legality of internet sales; and

  • any recommendations of best practice for industry.

In the light of these specific areas of enquiry, the FCA put forward the following subject matters for comment:

1.UK Regulations: Are UK Regulations being by-passed by products being purchased from foreign suppliers?

2.Consumer information: Should internet and mail order customers be provided with the same information as provided via the labelling requirements when a product is bought from a shop?

3.Deterioration during transit: Are there adequate safeguards to ensure safety?

4.Claims: Are consumers being misled?

5.Enforcement: What difficulties are enforcement authorities encountering?

The closing date for comments on the above is 29th June 2001 and the letter setting out all these points in more detail, along with the list of its recipients, is available on the Food Standards Agency's website.

For further information please contact Jessica Burt by e-mail at jessica.burt@cms-cmck.com or by telephone on +44 (0) 20 7367 3589.