Ireland’s seafood authorities organised a series of seminars in Sligo, Dublin and Cork this week to update the seafood industry on new EU food labelling legislation, which comes into force in December.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority outlined new regulations on mand-atory nutritional labelling, allergen information, category of fishing gear and date of freezing.
Donal Buckley, BIM’s director of business development and innovation, said: “Due to the nature of our wild and open fisheries resource, labelling has been a source of confusion for customers. Traceability and provenance is more important than ever and the seminar is designed to inform you how best to work within the current and new legislation to ensure your product label is communicating the right information to your customers, both in terms of provenance and nutrition.”
Allergens must be declared in the ingredient list and must be emphasised in a typeset that clearly distinguishes it from the rest of the ingredients. Allergen labelling will now apply to non pre-packaged foods, which is of particular relevance to seafood retailers.
The new legislation refers to food information rather than food labelling and therefore applies not only to the label but also to other accompanying material, or any other means including modern technology tools or verbal communication
Under current legislation, seafood processors and fish retailers already include extensive information on their product labels. This includes the commercial designation of the species of fish; the production method, whether farmed or caught at sea or freshwater. Different EC rules govern each catch.
The FSAI also told those attending the seminars to make the most of their label by informing the consumer of the various nutritional benefits of fish such as ‘high in omega 3’, ‘source of iodine’, and ‘high in protein’.
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