Guaranteed Irish, the not-for-profit business membership organisation championing 550+ homegrown and international businesses in Ireland, has called on businesses in Ireland to prepare for new EU regulation that will ensure greater transparency in food labelling.
Provenance of food consistently ranks as one of the most important issues for EU consumers, and Guaranteed Irish is urging all businesses operating in the food and beverage sector to familiarise themselves with the new regulation and prepare for its implementation, which is due to take effect from April 2020, and require packaging to provide consumers with clear information about the origin of food sold in the EU.
The new regulation will ensure that the origin of the primary ingredient of a food must be indicated to a consumer if it is different from the origin of the food itself. In future, for example, the cocoa beans used in chocolate’s production will have to originate in Belgium if it is to be labelled as “Belgian Chocolate.”
However, it will not apply where geographic terms are used as part of customary or generic names that do not indicate the origin provenance of a food – such as Bolognese sauce or Turkish delight. Food names that are protected geographical indications or registered trademarks are also not affected by the regulation.
Describing the options available to businesses, Michael Finn, Partner at Matheson, a Guaranteed Irish member company, said: “Under the new regulation, there are two options available to food business operators in order to fulfil their information obligations to consumers. The first option is to provide a clear statement warning consumers that the primary ingredient does not originate from the country of origin or place of provenance of the food. The second option is to provide information on the origin or place of provenance of the primary ingredient.”
Welcoming the new regulation, Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish, said: “In an increasingly globalised marketplace, there is a strong desire among consumers to know exactly where their food is originating, and we’re keen to see the end of misleading labels in terms of origin and provenance.
“All of Guaranteed Irish’s food producers must meet the highest standards before they can bear the instantly recognisable Guaranteed Irish symbol – a widely recognised and respected symbol of trust and excellence. Where consumers see the Guaranteed Irish symbol they can be confident that the food they are consuming originated in Ireland and nowhere else.”
Guaranteed Irish has over 550 business members – indigenous and international – which make a significant contribution to the Irish economy every year, both in terms of turnover and employment, as well as to their local communities. Guaranteed Irish members employ over 70,000 people in Ireland, generating a turnover of €11.2bn in 2018.
Membership of the Guaranteed Irish organisation is open to all businesses in Ireland and spans a range of sectors including food and drink; pharmaceutical; healthcare; technology; construction; energy; professional services; manufacturing; tourism; craft and design; retail; and lifestyle.
Members in the food and drink industry include Tayto; Manhattan; Clonakilty Black Pudding; Brennans Bread; Sadie’s Kitchen; The Chocolate Garden of Ireland; St. Patrick’s Distillery; Ballymaloe Foods; Pat The Baker; Sheridan’s Cheesemongers; G’s Gourmet Jams; Flahavans; Grandma Henvey; Johnston, Mooney and O’Brien; and more. The organisation considers three core criteria when assessing an applicant for membership – jobs, community and provenance.