The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has reminded food businesses that from 13 December 2016, EU Regulations will require that most prepacked food products must provide mandatory nutritional information to enable consumers to make more informed choices when purchasing food.
Certain prepacked foods are exempted from the requirement to provide nutritional information, such as single ingredient products or handcrafted food that is supplied directly by the manufacturer to the final consumer, but the EU legislation has advised each Member State to provide more legal specifics for their local markets.
The Department of Health has supplemented the EU legislation with specific definitions for ‘small quantities’ and ‘local retail establishment’. Introducing the legislation, Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said that its primary objective is “to allow consumers make informed food choices about the pre-packed food they are purchasing”.
Minister Harris went on to clarify the purpose of the supplemental legislation, saying it “provides definition to what will be deemed ‘small quantities’ of food and ‘local retail establishments’ for the purpose of the exemption thus providing clarity to food businesses and indeed to the prospective retailer and consumer”.
The definitions were determined following a public consultation carried out by the FSAI on behalf of the Department. Minister Harris thanked all those who took the time to contribute to the consultation.
According to Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO of FSAI, this new Irish legislation will provide certainty and assist compliance among food businesses when the legislation comes into effect: “Under the new legislation, ‘small quantities’ of food is defined as (a) 250 kilograms or litres per week or 13,000 kilograms or litres of products per year or (b) 500 units per week or 26,000 units per year. Manufacturers can choose either. ‘Local’ is defined as not more than 100km from where the product is manufactured.”
Dr Byrne recommended any manufacturers or retailers seeking guidance to visit www.fsai.ie or to contact the FSAI’s advice line at [email protected]
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