Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (636)

Martin Ferris


636. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the level of monitoring that takes place of fish produce and labelling. [8905/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006 the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority is responsible for operational matters in relation to enforcement and compliance of Sea Fisheries law and areas of Food Safety law agreed with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

There are general requirements in Regulation EC 178/2002 and Directive 2000/13 prohibiting the misleading of consumers with food labels. In the case of fishery products there are additional requirements in Council Regulation 104/2000 and Commission Regulation EC 2065/2001. These require the provision of more detailed information to consumers on the provenance of fishery and aquaculture products and also to provide greater transparency on the traceability of all fish. The Regulations apply only to raw fish and aquaculture products, processed products such as breaded fillets, crab sticks or ready-to-eat dishes are not covered by those Regulations. The Regulations make it a legal requirement to provide at the point of retail sale the following information: the common name of the species of fish, the production method (whether the fish is caught or farmed) and the catch area (origin), this applies to products sold loose or in a pre-packaged form, traceability information for all food must also be available at each stage of marketing of the product.

Responsibility for the enforcement of food labelling legislation in Ireland rests with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and is discharged by the official agencies who operate under Service Contract to the FSAI, as part of their supervisory role and enforcement activities. The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), under service contract with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) enforces the Regulations up to the level of wholesale. Labelling checks are carried out in establishments as part of routine inspections by authorised SFPA officers.

The SFPA does not have a remit in retail sales; the Health Services Executive is responsible for enforcing the labelling requirements of the Regulations at the retail stage.