FOOD LABELLING IN IRELAND

Food Information to Consumers (FIC) legislation Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011  includes new requirements for the way in which allergen information must be displayed. This legislation applies from the 13th December 2014. You can read more about the new legislation in the legislation section. To avail of food labelling training The FSAI have produced a variety of modules in their online learning resources

It can be an extremely daunting experience starting a food business as you juggle all the ordinary business functions. You now have to learn a lot of new information from a lot of different sources in a short space of time. This can include information on registering for tax to figuring out the food labelling laws. It can be all very confusing. 
 
Food labelling laws are in place so that the consumer can identify the type of product, the ingredients, the use by date and allergen information. 
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This is only a snippet of information that must be in the field of vision of an item so the shopper can decide at the time of purchase whether or not to select the item. 
In recent years people have become more aware of what is in their food, this can be down to trying to eat healthier and choosing something with less calories or having an intolerance to an ingredient. 
Before Consumers have often found the labelling on products confusing for example Sodium is no longer to be used, now Salt should be used in its place or using several different names for sugar and stating that the product is sugar- free. By avoiding the use of scientific language makes it easier to understand what the ingredients are. 
 
The writing on the packaging must be legible and not blurred. The font type needs to be Times New Roman, 8 font, if the packaging is small then the font type can be Times New Roman, 6 font. 

 
If the food is prepared with peanut oil or if gluten is used in a close space it must be stated as these ingredients can be harmful to some consumers.  Allergens must be highlighted in bold when listed in the ingredients section. If a gluten – free product for instance oats are used in a product, the labelling must state the gluten-free Oats* in the ingredients list. There must be a statement on how the oats were prepared. *Oats used in this product and are gluten free and have been specially produced. If there is a possibility of cross – contamination of a product with an allergen then the allergen must be written with may contain ….. 

 
Food Information for consumers (FIC) are introducing new laws concerning the nutritional content of foods. It will become mandatory from 13thDecember 2016, packaging will now have to show (a) The energy value  and (b) The amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt. 


It can be a tricky process trying to work out the calorie content of every product when first starting out in business. It can also be a challenge to calculate each item on the menu, especially with menus that change on a regular basis.  However, it is essential that consumers have the information to be able to make an informed choice on whether to have a healthier option or if they want to choose a less healthy option it is their decision as they have been given all the information to make that choice.  If alcohol drinks or desserts stated the calorie content it may influence the consumer to choose a lower calorie item or have less than if they were not provided with that information. 
With new legislation on food labelling coming into force in late 2016, this will benefit the public with increased information about the products we consume. 

For more information on the Food labelling and allergen labelling laws in Ireland check out www.fsai.ie

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