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FSAI unveils new food labeling regulations

Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has launched new food labeling regulations, which ensure that consumers have the information needed to help them make informed choices about the food they buy.

The new regulations, which are expected to come into force in December 2014, require descriptions on packaging to be written in a certain font size to ensure it is legible, and outline the nutritional values of the product.

Food producers should tell the consumers if the food has already been frozen and loose food items will have to be labeled. Country of origin has to be included on meat products from poultry, pigs and sheep.

The new regulations, which apply to food businesses at all stages of the food chain, extend beyond food labeling to cover activities pertaining to the provision of food information to consumers, including through internet marketing.

FSAI Food Science and Standards director Dr Wayne Anderson said the new labeling rules recognize that the food label itself is not the only means of communicating information on food to consumers.

"Social media is being exploited to extol the virtues of products through increasingly sophisticated marketing methods. This offers new challenges for the legislation and the authorities trying to enforce it," Anderson said.

According to FSAI, the regulations also address various issues such as font size, allergen labeling of non-prepacked foods, nutrition declaration, front of pack and origin labeling.