This Private Member’s Bill was introduced in Dáil Éireann on 13th March 2013 and is intended to expand the functions of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).
On foot of the recent controversy surrounding horse meat in processed beef products, the Bill aims to introduce changes that will achieve the highest standard of food health and safety for consumers through enhancing the traceability and monitoring of food produce origins, by enforcing stricter labelling criteria for products labelled as produce of Ireland as well as products marketed and distributed within the State.
The Bill inserts definitions of “ingredients” and “origins” and states that the principal functions of the FSAI are to include taking steps to ensure that food, and all ingredients, are traceable.
The Bill also places an onus on the FSAI to use its activities and inspections to bring about an acceptance that responsibility for ensuring the safety and suitability of food as well as “the certainty of ingredients contained within the produce and listed as such” rests with food buisness operators.
The Bill introduces a new provision requiring the FSAI to take reasonable steps to ensure that produce labelled as being produced in Ireland is in fact produce of Ireland and lists all ingredients in the produce and their origin. Failure to adhere to these requirements may lead to criminal prosecution. The FSAI will be required to undertake regular compliance inspections.
The Bill has a long way to go before it gets close to becoming law and is likely to be the subject of much debate inside and outside the Oireachtas.