Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to

Written Answers - Food Labelling

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 500 Next Page Last Page

 578.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  if he is entirely satisfied that food labelling and traceability regulations are fully enforced and enforceable throughout each EU member State; if adequate efforts are being made to prevent re-labelling resulting in falsification of origin or failure to comply with EU and national standards; the extent, if any, to which breaches of such traceability or labelling have been discovered and with whatever consequences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14577/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly In Ireland the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has service contracts in place with official agencies to carry out inspections in food businesses. These official agencies include the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Local Authorities, Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and National Standards Authority of Ireland. There is an extensive programme of inspections by the official agencies of food business operators to check compliance with food legislation such as labelling, origin, EU and national food legislation.

In 2010 the HSE carried out 70,630 inspections(which include specified risk materials and traceability) in the food businesses under their supervision; of these, 9,919 inspections found non-compliances with labelling legislation. These non-compliances were for a range of food labelling infringements and the HSE follow-up on all of these non-compliances to ensure they are addressed.

In the other official agencies, food labelling and origin are checked at production level as part of routine food controls. The number of inspections specifically on food labels is not separately recorded.

DAFM Egg and Poultry Inspectors verify compliance with labelling and the marketing standards for eggs and poultry from primary production through to retail. In 2010 DAFM undertook 1,359 inspections in these establishments and identified seven non-compliances. FSAI has also carried out, in co-ordination with the official agencies, labelling surveys on specific aspects [949]of the nutrition and health claims legislation, allergen labelling, fish and fish products and gas-flushed chicken fillets.Reports of these surveys are available on the FSAI website.

Following on from the inspections the official agencies undertake appropriate enforcement action with the food businesses. They also verify that compliance is achieved. In most cases breaches of labelling legislation do not pose a serious risk to public health and future compliance to the legislation is ensured through the provision of advice to the food business and appropriate changes to the food label.

Where serious breaches of labelling are found, however, severe action is taken. For example, in May 2009 a prosecution was taken by the FSAI against a food business in Galway for breaches including the Labelling of Fishery and Aquaculture Products Regulations 2003. One 2009 HSE prosecution cited offences under the Health (Country of Origin of Beef) Regulations 2006 and another prosecution cited the Beef Labelling Regulations 2000. In 2010 four HSE prosecutions cited offences under labelling legislation including the general labelling, country of origin of beef, fish labelling and beef labelling regulations. In 2011 there was one prosecution by the HSE which included non-compliances with, among other legislation, the Health (Country of Origin of Beef) Regulations 2006. There has been one prosecution to date in 2012 by the HSE that included non-compliances with, among other legislation, the requirements of the EC (General Food Law) Regulations 2007 and EC (Labelling of Beef and Beef Products) Regulations 2000 for traceability of meat.

Last Updated: 24/08/2015 11:10:48 First Page Previous Page Page of 500 Next Page Last Page