Consumers want to know more about the food products they are buying in supermarkets, believes Éamon Ó Cuív, Fianna Fail spokesperson on Agriculture and Food.
At the moment, food labels only display the information required by the country in which they are produced. This equates to a lack of clarity on unfamiliar food products brought into the country as the packaging does not align with the Irish food labelling standards.
“The consumers are reliant on the information on the product labels. It is essential that there is consistency and full transparency in labelling so that consumers are not left in the dark about the nutritional value of these food products,” stated Ó Cuív.
Nutritional values can deviate from country to country depending on the ingredients used during production, as does serving size, which can pose a problem when trying to stay within the confines of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA ) set out by the Food Safety Authority.
The Irish agri-food industry is heavily reliant on the international trade market with 90% of all Irish produce being exported annually and any arrangement which attempts to dilute this market with weaker products must be looked at as a threat.
“Ireland needs to keep watch on any EU proposals that would disproportionately negate our capacity to continue to export our world class food produce.”
Ó Cuív then called on Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, to work with his associates in the EU to ensure market stability in the future.
“The new Minster for Agriculture must work with national authorities and colleagues at EU level to ensure there is a fit for purpose food labelling system in place, while ensuring Irish farmers’ produce to export markets is not constrained”.