Ireland issues multi-lingual food labelling guidance

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, Food, Shelf life

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has published new
labelling guidance for food manufacturers, which it hopes will help
international companies meet the nation's labeling requirements.

The General Labelling of Pre-Packaged Food​ aims to clearly communicate Ireland's existing labeling regulations, which have been particularly difficult for non English-speaking nations to meet. Until now, the labeling guidance has only been available in English. This updated version has now been published in nine other languages. "A lot of traders are from other parts of the world and didn't have an understanding of what the labeling requirements were, so they didn't have their products labeled appropriately,"​ said Jeff Moon, chief specialist of environmental health at FSAI. "There are no major changes in the guidelines, we've just tried to make them as clear as possible by providing them in different languages,"​ he told FoodNavigator.com. According to Moon, the aim of food labelling is to provide consumers with key information on the properties, ingredients, nature and characteristics of pre-packaged food to enable them to make informed food purchasing decisions. "Food businesses should provide sufficient information, accurately and clearly, to enable consumers to select products according to their needs; to store and prepare them appropriately and to consume them safely,"​ he said. Moon said that labels must be clear, accurate and unambiguous, and they must not make misleading or false claims. Language ​Food labels in Ireland must be in English. Although a second language, including Irish, may also be used, English must always be used. The new guidance leaflet is available in Arabic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Ukrainian and Urdu. Labelling in Ireland ​According to Irish legislation, pre-packaged foods must include the following mandatory information on the label:

  • The name of the food product, "stated in order to inform the purchaser of the true nature of the product"

  • A list of ingredients, in order of weight

  • The quantity of certain ingredients, and the net quantity of the foodstuff

  • Declaration of allergens

  • Date of minimum durability, with a best before date being the date up to which a food product can reasonably be expected to retain its optimum condition. A use by date is required for foods that are highly perishable and after a short period may pose a threat to human health.

  • Any special storage conditions so that consumers can maintain the quality of the product

  • Instructions for use where necessary

  • Name or business name and address of the manufacturer or packager, or of a seller in the European Union

  • Place of origin of the foodstuff if its absence might mislead the consumer

  • Beverages with more than 1.2 per cent alcohol by volume must declare their actual alcoholic strength.

To access the labeling guidance leaflets in all languages, click here​.

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