IFWG urges immediate action on labelling & transparency

The 2013 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Award winners with Derry Clarke of L’Ecrivian.
The 2013 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Award winners with Derry Clarke of L’Ecrivian.

In the wake of the processed food scandal, more than ever, trust has become one of the most important ingredients in food production in Ireland today. This was reinforced by Irish Food Writers’ Guild Chairman Myles McWeeney, speaking at the recent IFWG Food Awards held in L’Ecrivain restaurant in Dublin this week.



28 February 2013

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“If we can’t have full faith in what is on the label, the reputation of the food sector in Ireland could be seriously jeopardised,” he said,  “But the good news is that when you buy from indigenous Irish producers, you can be assured that their products are fully traceable, that the raw materials will have travelled a relatively short distance and oftentimes, that the product is as a result of cooperation between different local producers.

“It is these wonderful artisan producers that the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards celebrate and honour and they are truly deserving of the highest recognition,” said Myles. “Thankfully, in terms of artisan food produce, the future of the food industry is in great hands.  Each of today’s award-winners in their own way represents the ‘can-do’ spirit of innovation that characterises this dynamic sector.”
In this, the 19th year of the awards, six Irish food companies were presented with an IFWG Food Award during a ceremony and industry celebration at L’Ecrivain.

MC for the event, Ross Golden Bannon, stressed that these awards were independent and of the “greatest integrity” as a result of the impartial and strict judging process by food experts.
From fresh cheese made from buffalo milk and crackers packed with character, to seeds and syrup and PGI designated lamb, the winners represent the very best of Irish and were awarded for their outstanding produce and important contribution to helping retain Ireland’s reputation, at home and abroad.
The 2013 winners are Rod & Julie Calder-Potts, Highbank Orchards (Co Kilkenny) for Highbank Orchard Syrup; Toby Simmonds, Toons Bridge Dairy (Co Cork) for Toons Bridge Dairy Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese and Connemara Hill Lamb Ltd., (Co Galway).  A joint award was presented to Sheridans Cheesemongers (Co Meath) and Cookies of Character (Co Cork) for their range of cheese crackers.
An environmental award was presented to Co Clare-based Irish Seed Savers Association, for its dedicated work in preserving native varieties of fruit and vegetables.
Myles McWeeney continued, “Today is a celebration of the finest Irish food and wonderful artisan producers.  However, as a food writers’ guild, we have a duty to acknowledge recent issues relating to the contamination of processed meat products”.
The IFWG has therefore urged immediate action on labelling and transparency, not just in Ireland but right across the EU.
“We welcome the Irish government’s recent response, but we have to act now to protect the hard-earned reputation of the majority of food companies, large and small, in what is one of Ireland’s most important export industries,” Myles stressed.

Earlier, Ross Golden Bannon had suggested that the provenance of a food product could be indicated by putting a ‘number of hands’ count on the packaging. Thus for local products, the ‘number of hands’ would be considerably less than on those emanating from the other side of the world or one that had been heavily processed.
The IFWG Food Awards are one of Ireland’s most enduring and respected awards events in Ireland.



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