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National Consultation Seeks Views on 'Small Quantities' Definition for Nutrition Labelling

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today announced a national consultation to seek views and opinions on EU regulations that allow for some prepacked food products to be exempt from displaying nutrition information. The consultation is in conjunction with the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. From 16 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, the Regulation does provide a number of exceptions*, 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. This consultation seeks opinions from interested parties to assist define ‘small quantities of product’.

All interested parties are invited to express their views via an online questionnaire on https://www.fsai.ie/consultations/. The consultation will close on 22nd August 2016.

EU Regulation (No1169/2011) on the provision of food information to the consumer provides a list of foods that are exempt from mandatory nutritional labelling. Included in this list is ‘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.’

The EU has not defined ‘small quantities of products’ or ‘local’ in the legislation and have advised that each Member State must provide a definition in their local market. Irish law has an accepted definition for ‘local’, however; no such precedent exists to define ‘small quantities’. The primary aim of this consultation is to determine such a definition to provide certainty and assist compliance among food businesses when the legislation comes into effect.

According to Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI, this is an opportunity for all interested parties to inform the FSAI of their view on what they would see as an acceptable definition. It could be based on a variety of criteria, including the weight of the products, the amount of sales or indeed the number of units, so it is important for those who have an opinion to give their input now.

    “We actively encourage all interested parties to submit their views via the online consultation, so that their opinion and position can be taken into consideration when the definition is being formulated. The views submitted will assist in making a more informed decision in relation to the final definition for ‘small quantities’ in Ireland. This definition will be ultimately transposed into Irish law and is likely to have an impact on food producers and retailers”.

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 it is sold are considered non-prepacked and therefore exempt.

-ENDS-

 
Notes to Editor:

Background

On 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 EU Commission White Paper of May 2007 on a strategy for Europe on nutrition, overweight and obesity related health issues (the ‘Commission White Paper’) noted that nutrition labelling is one important method of informing consumers about the composition of foods and of helping them to make an informed choice. 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.