The European Union (Foodstuffs Intended for Particular Nutritional Uses) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 169 of 2012) were signed into law on 24th May 2012. They revoke the European Community (Foodstuffs Intended for Particular Nutritional Uses) Regulations 2006 and the amendments thereto.
They provide for severe sanctions in the event of non-compliance. On summary conviction a person is subject to a class A fine (i.e. a fine not exceeding €5,000.00) and or a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months, and on conviction on indictment, the court can impose to a fine not exceeding €500,000.00 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years.
The regulations give effect to Council Directive 2009/39/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No. 953/2009 of 13 October 2009, as amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1161/2011 of 14 November 2011. A person shall not manufacture or place on the market foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses unless that person complies with the provisions laid down in these Regulations, the Directive and the EC Regulation.
“Foodstuffs for particular nutritional uses” are those foodstuffs which are clearly distinguishable from foodstuffs for normal consumption, owing to their special composition or manufacturing process, and
Those foodstuffs which are suitable for their claimed nutritional purposes and which are marketed in such a way as to indicate such suitability.
The regulations impose requirements as to labelling and state that foodstuffs for particular nutritional shall only be allowed on the retail market in pre-packaged form, and the packaging shall completely cover the foodstuffs.
Where a foodstuff for a particular nutritional use, which does not belong to one of the groups listed in Annex I to the Directive (which includes infant formulae and follow-on formulae and foodstuffs for diabetes), is to be placed on the market for the first time in Ireland, the manufacturer, or where the foodstuff is manufactured in a third country, the importer, shall notify the Food Safety Authority of Ireland before the foodstuff is placed on the market. Notification includes sending a model of the food label.
Authorised officers are given powers to seize, remove or detain foodstuffs which they suspect to be non-compliant products. It should be noted that no prosecution on indictment shall be taken on foot of these regulations in respect of an offence that occurred before they entered into force.
Criminal proceedings can be brought against a company as well as “any director, manager, secretary or any other officer of such body, or a person purporting to act in any such capacity”. As is common place in recent regulatory legislation, the regulations provide that a convicted person shall pay, in addition to any fine, costs and expenses incurred by the prosecuting authority.