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Are There Regulations Concerning the Use of the Word "New" on Packaging in the UK?

July 3, 2007
Question 

I'm trying to establish if there's any legislation governing the use of the word "new" on the label of a product going into the U.K. I'm led to believe there might be a limited period after the launch of the new product that the term can be used on the packaging. Is this correct and, if so, what is the time period?

 

Answer 

There is no specific legislation governing the use of the term "new" for products in the U.K. However, the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority has informed us that despite the lack of legislation, its adjudication committee takes decisions on such matters based on the characteristics of the individual product concerned. For food products, it would generally consider 12 months to be a reasonable timeframe during which to use the term "new" on a label. However, in faster moving high-tech industries, the timeframe for the use of the term "new" may be more limited.

In addition, a manufacturer should take into consideration the general legislation regulating advertising such as the Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations 1988 as amended and the Trade Descriptions Acts of 1968 as amended.

The U.K. Department of Trade and Industry's website provides detailed information on what constitues misleading advertising, as well as links to the relevant legislation. [Note: After this question was answered, U.K.'s Department of Trade and Industry was replaced by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.]