Regulation 1169/2011, which modernises the current Food Information/Labelling system, will apply industry wide from 13 December 2014 (with some exceptions, notably the requirements for a mandatory nutrition declaration which will apply from the 13th December 2016). The new Regulation applies to food businesses at all stages of the food chain where their activities concern the provision of food information to consumers. The FSAI is encouraging all food businesses to familiarise themselves with the new regulatory requirements. They have published a guidance booklet, which is available on the Authority’s website.

Notable changes:

  • While the ‘old’ rules applied only to food labelling, the ‘new’ rules apply to food information by “any means”. Therefore, no matter how food information is communicated to a consumer (ie. via a website, social media, etc) that information must comply with food law.
  • The Nutrition Declaration (which has been voluntary until now), will be mandatory as of December 2016.
  • Country of origin labelling for pigs/sheep/goats/poultry will become mandatory (now, only beef/fish require country of origin labelling).
  • Specific information and labelling in respect of allergens must be provided; previously, this was only required in respect of pre-packaged food – it will now be required for non pre-packaged food potentially affecting delis, canteens, artisan producers, takeaways and other similar businesses.
  • Additional Mandatory Food Information (for instance, for certain foods containing aspartame/aspartame and caffeine).
  • Presentation of Mandatory Particulars: Mandatory food information must be marked in a conspicuous place in such a way as to be easily visible, clearly legible and, where appropriate, indelible.
  • A date of minimum durability is now required; the date of minimum durability of a food means “the date until which the food retains its specific properties when properly stored”. In the case of foods which from a microbiological point of view, are highly perishable and are therefore likely after a short period to constitute an immediate danger to human health, the date of minimum durability must be replaced by the ‘use-by’ date. Under this new Regulation, once the ‘use-by’ date has passed, a food is deemed to be unsafe in accordance with Article 14(2) to (5) of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002.