'Small Quantities' and 'Local' Definitions for Nutrition Labelling Introduced

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today reminded food businesses that from 13 December 2016, EU Regulations will require that most prepacked food products must provide mandatory nutritional information to enable consumers make more informed choices when purchasing food. However, certain prepacked foods are exempted* from the requirement to provide nutrition information, one of which is the manufacture of small quantities of foods that are supplied directly by the manufacturer to the consumer or to local retailers for direct supply to the consumer. The EU legislation does not define ‘small quantities’ or ‘local’, rather it advised that each Member State must provide a definition in their local market. To this end, the Department of Health has now introduced Irish law [S.I. 559 of 2016] defining what is meant by ‘small quantities’ and ‘local retail establishment’.

Introducing the new legislation, Minister for Health, Simon Harris, referred to the fact that the new S.I. complements S.I. No. 556 of 2014 introduced in December 2014 and together they give effect to the new EU Regulation on the provision of food information to the consumer.

He said that the “primary objective of the suite of legislation is to allow consumers make informed food choices about the pre-packed food they are purchasing”. He went on to say that the EU Regulation, “also recognises that the requirement for mandatory nutritional information may place a burden on certain food businesses and allows for certain exemptions. The S.I. being introduced provides definition to what will be deemed ‘small quantities’ of food and ‘local retail establishments’ for the purpose of the exemption thus providing clarity to food businesses and indeed to the prospective retailer and consumer”.

The definitions were determined following a public consultation carried out by the FSAI on behalf of the Department. Minister Harris thanked all those who took the time to contribute to the consultation. He also welcomed the FSAI’s Q&A information which will be of assistance to retailers and food businesses.

Minister of State with responsibility for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, welcomed the introduction of mandatory nutrition declarations on most prepacked food products from 13 December. “The provision of details of the energy values and the amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt in a product will inform consumers and help them make healthier food choices”.

According to Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI this new Irish legislation will provide certainty and assist compliance among food businesses when the legislation comes into effect.

    “Under the new legislation, ‘small quantities’ of food is defined as (a) 250 kilograms or litres per week or 13,000 kilograms or litres of products per year or (b) 500 units per week or 26,000 units per year. Manufacturers can choose either. ‘Local’ is defined as not more than 100km from where the product is manufactured. The FSAI has prepared Q&A which provide guidance for manufacturers and retailers on the exemption and these are free to download from our website. Also food businesses with questions in relation to this can also contact our Advice Line at info@fsai.ie.”

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to the consumer applies to all prepacked food. Foods sold without packaging or packed on the same premises as they are sold are considered non-prepacked and are therefore exempt.


Notes to Editor:

On the 13 December 2014, new rules set out in Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to the consumer became applicable. The provision of nutrition information on a mandatory basis for prepacked foods was introduced in this Regulation, however in order to give food businesses time to prepare for this new requirement the date of application was set at the 13 December 2016.

*Foods which are exempted from the requirement of the mandatory nutrition declaration

  1. Unprocessed products that comprise a single ingredient or category of ingredients
  2. Processed products which the only processing they have been subjected to is maturing and that comprise a single ingredient or category of ingredients
  3. Waters intended for human consumption, including those where the only added ingredients are carbon dioxide and/or flavourings
  4. A herb, a spice or mixtures thereof
  5. Salt and salt substitutes
  6. Table top sweeteners
  7. Products covered by Directive 1999/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 February 1999 relating to coffee extracts and chicory extracts (1), whole or milled coffee beans and whole or milled decaffeinated coffee beans
  8. Herbal and fruit infusions, tea, decaffeinated tea, instant or soluble tea or tea extract, decaffeinated instant or soluble tea or tea extract, which do not contain other added ingredients than flavourings which do not modify the nutritional value of the tea
  9. Fermented vinegars and substitutes for vinegar, including those where the only added ingredients are flavourings
  10. Flavourings
  11. Food additives
  12. Processing aids
  13. Food enzymes
  14. Gelatine
  15. Jam setting compounds
  16. Yeast
  17. Chewing-gums
  18. Food in packaging or containers the largest surface of which has an area of less than 25 cm2
  19. Food, including handcrafted food, directly supplied by the manufacturer of small quantities of products to the final consumer or to local retail establishments directly supplying the final consumer.


Definition of Small Quantities and Local Retail Supply for Nutrition Labelling Purposes