Craft Butcher BBQ Event
Taking a butchers at EU Regulation FIC 1169/2011
ACBI BBQ event, 28th May 2014
Ever spent a convivial evening in the company of a group of butchers? Well, I have and it was not half as scary as you might expect. I was addressing the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland (ACBI) at their annual BBQ competition as part of their member support and training programme and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
You might well understandably ask ‘what is the difference between a Craft butcher and a, well not-so-Craft butcher?’ and you would be right, for to do so is to open yourself up to understanding the concepts of localized sourcing, small carbon hoofprints and avoidance of meat tourism; not to mention the value of being able to talk to a butcher who actually knows what he/she is selling you, where it came from and how to best prepare it. In other words, these guys/gals know what they are selling you because they control the supply and information chain that delivered it to you.
My reason for being there was to encourage them to consider whether EU Regulation 1169/2011 on Food Information to Consumers represents a compliance challenge or competitive opportunity for Irish Craft Butchers. In doing so I gave an overview of the elements of the FIC regulation, outlining highlights of the mandatory and voluntary labelling information and presented examples of how it may affect their in-store packaging.
As you may be aware, this new regulation applies to food business operators at all stages of the food chain, which provide food information to consumers (FSAI, July 2012) and the food business owner is responsible for all the labelling in their store. Food sold in loose form, packed on the premises at the request of the consumer or packed for direct sale or supply to the final consumer is considered non-prepacked food.
In Irish legislation Statutory Instruments (S.I.) were published at the end of 2014 which implement the FIC Regulation 1169/2011. S.I. No. 556 of 2014 gives national guidelines on the general provisions of the FIC regulation for prepacked foods and outlines the enforcement details. Prepacked food products must have an updated label with the 12 mandatory particulars displayed in a minimum font size. S.I. No 489 of 2014 states that allergen information for non-prepacked food must be displayed in a written format. Most butchers who pack and sell food in one store only are covered under non-prepacked food and exempt from full labelling (For more information check with your Food Regulatory Advisor, EHO or FSAI).
Craft Butchers want to provide as much information as possible to their customers. Therefore vendors and their suppliers need to be compliant in order to provide the mandatory information required to present their product for on-shelf display. The display of allergen information on products needs immediate attention. My message to my cleaver-wielding audience was that (1) compliance is not an option if you want to stay in business and (2) because craft butchers have a relatively short supply chain (i.e. farmer, abattoir, meat processing plant, butcher, customer) they are in a strong position to benefit from adoption of this regulation through effective articulation of their provenance, traceability and supply chain transparency proposition.
Personally, having spoken to those in the know, I believe the mandatory labelling of animal origin information will be a good thing for the Irish meat industry. The origin information is already mandatory for beef products (EU Reg 275/2007) so we are already well primed (excuse the pun) to deploy this for other meat species as from 1 April 2015, the origin labeling will also become mandatory for poultry, pigs, sheep and goats.
Having done my bit I was able to savor the culinary skills of Chef Adrian Martin who gave a cookery demonstration, which included an exposition of the heavenly BBQ aroma properties of smoked paprika. If, like me, you haven’t used it before you have got to try it, Yum!
To view the winners of the BBQ competition check out the ACBI website or follow the link below.
Main Photo (from left to right): Karen Roche (Themis Food Advisory) and Karen Munnelly (ACBI)
Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland (ACBI), http://www.craftbutchers.ie/
BBQ award winners,
Chef Adrian Martin Recipe, http://chefadrianmartin.blogspot.ie/2014/05/irish-beef-sliders-with-smokey-bbq-sauce.html
Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) website for national guidelines: Overview of changes to Food Labelling introduced under the New Food Information Regulation. Issue 1 (July 2012).
Food Information to Consumer Regulation 1169/2011. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:304:0018:0063:EN:PDF
Commission Implementing Regulation EU 1337/2013. Rules for application of EU Reg 1169/2011 as regards the country of origin or place of provenance for fresh, chilled and frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry.
S.I. No. 489 of 2014. Health (Provision of Food Allergen Information to consumers in respect of non-prepacked Food) Regulations 2014.
S.I. No. 556 of 2014. European Union (Provision of Food Information to Consumers) Regulations 2014.