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FSAI Collaborates with the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland to Improve Standards in Advertising of Food in Irish Marketplace

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) have collaborated to introduce guidance aimed at ensuring consumers are not misled by the use of marketing terms on foods. The guidance, which has been published by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland following extensive food industry engagement, will now support Section 8 of the ASAI Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland, which relates specifically to the advertising of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.

The FSAI guidance note will now complement the ASAI Code in ensuring that certain marketing terms used by food manufacturers, retailers and food service businesses convey clear meanings that are not misleading to consumers.

The guidance outlines the general legal requirements that food businesses must follow when using marketing terms on food and also provides agreed guidance for the food industry concerning the use of the following specific marketing terms to describe foods placed on the Irish market:

  • Artisan/Artisanal
  • Farmhouse
  • Traditional
  • Natural

Food businesses should aim to ensure marketing terms used on foods are compliant with relevant legislation and information contained in the guidance as soon as possible. However, as a minimum, the information in this guidance applies to the labels of foods placed on the market and/or presented and advertised after December 2016.

 CEO of the ASAI, Orla Twomey, says:

    “We welcome the FSAI’s Guidance Note in this area which will provide a useful resource to the ASAI and its independent Complaints Committee when adjudicating on the use of these terms in marketing communications. ASAI’s approach is to work with other regulatory bodies to achieve the best outcomes for the public and the advertising industry, ensuring that marketing communications do not mislead to the benefit of all”.

According to Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI, the guidance goes a long way to ensuring that food marketing terms are not used incorrectly to mislead consumers and its inclusion as a resource by the ASAI is an added welcome step in this process.

    “Consumers have a right to be confident that the foods they purchase and eat are accurately and truthfully described on the label. Food businesses should also be confident that genuine descriptions of their food are not diluted in the marketplace by undefined marketing terms,” said Dr Byrne. “We welcome the inclusion of our Guidance Note as a resource to the ASAI. Marketing terms, by their design, are there to attract consumers to buy certain products and are an essential part of business development in the food industry. However, they have the potential to mislead when used incorrectly. Small manufacturing businesses rely on the marketing terms in order to distinguish their products from mainstream commercial foods.”

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland is financed by the advertising industry and committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications that is advertising, promotional marketing and direct marketing. The objective is to ensure that all commercial marketing communications are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’.

The ASAI accepts complaints from any person or body who considers that a marketing communication may be in breach of the Code. To view the full ASAI Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland (7th edition), go to www.asai.ie.

FSAI Guidance Note on the Use of Food Marketing Terms