Changes to the labelling of Allergens – What this means for the Seafood Industry

Date for your Diary: 14th December 2014

This is the date the new EU labelling legislation comes into law meaning that from this date the food industry must implement the required changes being brought by the new Provision of Food Information to the Consumer Regulation (FIR) 1169/2011. This new law brings changes to the labelling of allergens and has implications for all sectors of the food industry particular with regard to communicating with the consumer about allergens.

This new law has implications for all sectors of the food industry particular with regard to communicating with the consumer about allergens.

However FIR is not limited to allergens! I recently attended a Labelling Seminar for the Seafood industry hosted by the Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). The aim of this was to inform those in the seafood industry on how FIR will affect them and also gave the latest information on traceability and nutrition and health claims that could be used to help market seafood products.

With regard to FIR this new legislation will apply to fishery and aquaculture products for sale to the final consumer or to a mass caterer. These new regulations extend current consumer information to include the category of fishing gear, whether the product has been defrosted and the date of minimum durability to name a few changes. However, at present the information is somewhat ambiguous and clarification has been sought on certain areas. We are waiting on a final publication to find out more!

The importance of traceability cannot be emphasised enough and it is essential that seafood processors establish a comprehensive traceability system. This includes providing the consumer with information pertaining to the commercial designation, the production method and the catch area at each stage of the market. Elocate is an exciting project run by the BIM, SFPA and GS1 which has been working on the development of a simple barcode which can be scanned electronically leading the person to all the relevant information. However, not all traceability systems need to be this high tech!

Changes to the labelling of Allergens, Seafood

A number of seafood products reach the legal limits to be labelled either ‘a source of’ or ‘high in’ nutrients such as omega-3, copper, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Make sure you are not missing out on an excellent marketing opportunity. By carrying out nutritional analysis you can then reference the fsai.ie website to find out if you can make a nutritional or health claim on your product.

For further information on anything in this article or the new FIR legislation contact us now at info@marydaly.ie.

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