Ireland has tightened up its rules on some food marketing terms

Ireland has tightened up its rules on some food marketing terms

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has published new guidance to ensure consumers are not "misled" by the use of some marketing terms on foods.

The body has outlined the legal requirements food businesses must follow when using marketing terms on food. Additionally, the FSAI provides agreed guidance for the food industry concerning the use of the terms: artisan/artisanal; farmhouse; traditional; natural.

When the term 'artisan' is used, the food must be "made in limited quantities by skilled craftspeople". Food must also feature locally grown or produced ingredients and be made by a "not fully mechanised" method at a single location.

Where the term 'farmhouse' is used the food is made in a "single location on a farm", "by a micro-enterprise", and ingredients are grown or produced locally.

For 'traditional', the recipe must be proven to have existed without "significant modification for at least 30 years" or "does not deviate substantially from the traditional food processing method
associated with a certain type of food".

When the term 'natural' is used the food is "formed by nature and is not significantly interfered with by man".

Dr Wayne Anderson, director of food science and standards, FSAI, said the new guidance goes a long way to ensuring that food marketing terms are not used incorrectly to mislead consumers.

"Marketing terms are designed to resonate with consumers and are an essential part of business development in the food industry. However, they have the potential to mislead when used incorrectly. Consumers need to be confident that the foods they purchase and consume are accurately and truthfully described on the label."

Tom Hayes, Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for food safety, added: "Consumers will now know what to expect when they see food or drink products labelled as artisan/artisanal, farmhouse, traditional or natural. The guidance also offers producers reputational assurance and an opportunity to secure recognition, value and markets for food and drink products meeting these criteria."

The guidance comes into effect in December 2016.