Process and scope of review
The material submitted is reviewed by a Code Administrator for compliance with the principles of the HFMA Code of Advertising Practice, with reference to:
- the relevant labelling or advertising regulations
- the terms of the marketing authorisation or product licence/registration, where applicable
- government and industry guidelines
- other relevant codes of practice
Advice on any required/recommended alterations is then provided. Where available, the Code Administrator will provide guidelines and checklists on subjects relevant to the material submitted. In the case of issues not clearly defined in the regulations, current industry practice and the current approach of the authorities are taken into account to determine the suitability of a proposal.
Note that the following areas are outside the scope of the Code and are not routinely considered as part of the review:
- accuracy and efficacy of formulation, except in relation to appropriateness of claims
- the safety of ingredients and finished product
- the accuracy of declared quantities in final product
- the accuracy of GM status claims and other negative-presence claims
- the determination of novel ingredient/food status
- the content of any referenced websites, publications or similar [separate review of these materials can be carried out]
Agreement and the review stamp
When agreement has been reached on suitable copy, the copy is returned stamped with a reference number.
The review stamp conveys compliance with the principles of the HFMA Code of Advertising Practice and is provided based on current scientific opinion and current regulatory and industry practice. Until a body of case law has been built up to form the basis of an authoritative statement, advice on the law and application of the regulations can be given as informed opinion only.
The copy should be resubmitted for review every two years if it is still in use. At times, changes in the law, codes of practice or interpretation may necessitate an earlier review.
The review stamp does not constitute an endorsement or approval of the product or services offered, nor should it be regarded as a guarantee of the legality of the product. It remains the responsibility of the manufacturer/supplier/importer to ensure that the product placed on the market meets its claims.
HFMA CLEAR CHECK is an accredited compliance service
Surrey and Buckinghamshire Trading Standards, who are the HFMA’s Primary Authority, have assessed the CLEAR CHECK service for its food standards support and concluded:
“… that their activities are organised to ensure … a high level of quality in compliance services which include: advice; checks on labels and advertising; and training.”
“The quality level has been independently reviewed and in our opinion is likely to provide users of those services with a defence of ‘having taken all reasonable precations and exercised all due diligence’…”