Food Safety Authority of Ireland has just issued a guidance on the use of food related terms “artisanal, natural, farmhouse or traditional” for marketing purpose.
The Irish initiative, following same path of English Food Standard Agency, aims to ensure consistency in messages for consumers from the food industry.
The guidance clarifies criteria for use of the mentioned claims that, when improperly used, would be misleading and would be against one of the main principle of the labeling rules for food information in EU.
Can these be regarded as first seeds for a future harmonization at EU level? Maybe not, but they surely show that the broad and growing uses of term reminding naturalness and traditionality raise some concerns.
A lot of detailed rules are set in the document, as for example a food can claim being artisanal only when made in small enterprise, one location and with seasonal and local ingredients, it has also to be produced in limited quantities, by craftspeople and with a method not fully mechanized.
Mr Tom Hayes, T.D., Minister of State for the Department of Agriculture welcomed the document reminding that “Consumer confidence is essential for the development of the food industry at all levels” and the result being “ an excellent example of the food sector’s commitment to excellence in communicating with consumers and of the professionalism of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland which has worked so effectively with producers and food companies to develop this guidance”.
Food operators should comply as soon as possible, however the guidance formally applies from December 2016.