The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has notified McDonald’s, the world's largest fast-food chain, that its new Irish-themed "McMór" burger is not "artisan" as defined in recently published guidance on the use of certain terms in the marketing of food products in Ireland. Although the guidelines will apply to food products placed on the market or advertised after December 2016, McDonald's has reportedly decided to cease using the term when marketing its new burger.
The FSAI guidance (which we reported on here) aims to ensure that marketing terms convey a clear meaning to the customer, while protecting the needs of smaller businesses that rely on genuine distinctions in marketing terms in order to differentiate their products in the marketplace.
The FSAI guidance provides clear definitions for certain commonly used food marketing terms, such as “artisan”, “traditional”, “farmhouse” and “natural”. For example, in order to be marketed as “artisan”, a food product must:
- be made in limited quantities by skilled craftspeople;
- be made by a traditional method which is not fully mechanised;
- be made in a micro-enterprise at a single location; and
- have, as a characteristic ingredient, food grown or produced locally (at least where seasonally available and practical).
While an 18-month window in which to ensure compliance with the new guidelines is in place, those involved in the food industry should take note of the proactive attitude to enforcement already being displayed by the FSAI.