Food testing package launches to help businesses meet new legislation

Cawood food labelling

Leading food analysis lab EMS, which was bought by Berkshire-based Cawood in January, has developed Label, an innovative food testing package designed to help businesses meet new calorie labelling legislation.

‘From 6th April, many food businesses will have to display calorie information of non-packaged food and soft drinks on their menus and food labels,’ said Jennifer Newton, Managing Director at EMS. ‘We developed Label to help restaurants and other businesses who are faced with this legislation for the first time. All they have to do is send in a sample of each meal, and we will send back all the information they need to comply, including the traffic light lozenge.’

Label is a full nutritional analysis package comprising of carbohydrates, energy, fat, protein, fibre, sugars, salt, and moisture to determine calorific information. It also verifies product claims, such as high protein, low fat, or similar, as well as allergens including gluten and histamine. Information is put into the standard front-of-pack (FOP) lozenge format (an easy-to-read traffic light system) so that customers can see the nutritional value of a product at a glance.

The change in legislation is part of the government’s wider strategy to tackle obesity by helping people make more informed, healthier food choices. It applies to large businesses who employ more than 250 people, including cafés, restaurants, takeaways, catering companies, food manufacturers, and out-of-home food enterprises. The calorie information must be displayed on non-packaged food and soft drink items. It also needs to be accessible at the “point of choice” for the customer, including on physical and online menus, food labels, and food delivery apps.

‘For now, the legislation only applies to businesses with more than 250 employees, but as nutritional information in restaurants becomes more common, customers will start to expect it everywhere,’ continued Jennifer. ‘Our Label packages mean that even small restaurants or cafés will be able to have their meals tested, which will give them an edge over their competition now and set them up for compliance if the legislation is extended to include them.’

Alongside nutritional results, every Label package comes with a UKAS accredited Test Report, as well as a nutritional table and the FOP lozenge which are both provided as image files ready to use on menus and packaging. Nutritional testing kits with a sampling guide are provided for easy sampling and returns.

‘EMS has a fantastic reputation for innovative solutions within the food safety sector. Its development of Label demonstrates that,’ said Simon Parrington, Chief Executive Officer for the Cawood Group. ‘This work aligns perfectly with the group’s strategy of extending our services to meet increasing customer needs in light of new regulations. Both Cawood and our parent company, Ensign-Bickford Industries, are delighted to be supporting and investing in EMS whilst the team works tirelessly to support a safer, healthier planet.’

Cawood has quadrupled in size since 2016 and became part of Ensign-Bickford Industries in 2021. With a turnover of over £75 million, the group employs around 840 people across twelve divisions and completes over ten million analytical tests every year.

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