New guidance issued on use of food marketing terms
14 May 2015 | 0
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today (14 May) published new guidance aimed at ensuring consumers are not misled by the use of marketing terms on foods.
The authority says the guidance which is available on www.fsai.ie, will assist in the responsible use of marketing terms by food manufacturers, retailers and food service businesses.
The guidance follows a public consultation carried out by a working group including the FSAI, the FSAI’s Artisan Forum, Food and Drink Industry Ireland and the Consumers’ Association of Ireland.
It outlines the general legal requirements that food businesses must follow when using marketing terms on food and additionally provides agreed guidance for the food industry concerning the use of the following specific marketing terms: ‘Artisan/artisanal’; ‘farmhouse’; ‘traditional’ and ‘natural’.
For example, the term ‘farmhouse’ or similar terms that create an impression that a food originates on a farm should only be used on foods that can legitimately claim to meet all of the following criteria. Namely, that the food is made in a single location on a farm, that it is made by a micro-enterprise and thirdly, that the characteristic ingredient(s) used in the food are grown or produced locally.
However the guidelines also recognise that certain foods have used ‘farmhouse’ and similar terms for many years, and these are understood by consumers. Such foods, including bread with a split and rounded crust and soup made with coarse cut or chunky vegetables, will still be allowed to use ‘farmhouse’ whether they meet the above three criteria or not.
The FSAI says food businesses should aim to ensure they comply with the guidance as soon as possible. However, as a minimum, the guidelines must apply to the labels of foods placed on the market and/or presented and advertised after December 2016.
Dr Wayne Anderson, director of Food Science and Standards, FSAI, said the new guidance addresses concerns raised by small manufacturing businesses which rely on the identified marketing terms as a means of communicating the genuine differences between the foods they offer and mainstream commercial foodstuffs.
Tom Hayes, Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for food safety has welcomed the new guidelines.