I propose to answer Questions Nos. 42 and 52 together.
In July 2002, I established a group to examine the whole food labelling issue. The group reported in December 2002 making a series of recommendations. I accepted the recommendations and set up an interdepartmental agency group to progress implementation of the recommendations. This group includes representatives from my Department, the Department of Health and Children, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Food Safety Promotion Board.
I am very pleased at the progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the group in the six months since the report was presented to me. Two main issues emanated from the recommendations of the labelling group. They are centralising enforcement in one agency and the definition of origin. In relation to centralisation of enforcement, the position is that the Tánaiste and the Minister for Health and Children recently agreed to the transfer of responsibility for general food labelling from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to the Department of Health and Children. This move provides the opportunity to centralise the enforcement of all labelling regulations in the FSAI, which comes under the aegis of the Department of Health and Children.