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Have Your Say on the Definitions for the Description of Irish Food Products

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has just announced a public consultation on the use of Food Marketing Terms in Ireland.

The consultation is based on a Draft Code of Practice aimed at protecting the integrity of certain marketing terms on Irish food with the intent of protecting the interests of the consumer and the small food industry. Part of the code will concentrate on advertising terms that are used to define genuine differences between the foods that smaller producers offer and the mainstream commercial foodstuffs of a similar type.



The Draft Code of Practice will provide an "agreed set of additional rules" for the food industry use of the following marketing terms on foods:

• Artisan/Artisanal
• Farmhouse
• Traditional
• Natural

Here are the proposed definitions for the following Irish Food Marketing Terms:


Artisan/Artisanal
The terms “artisan” or “artisanal” or similar descriptions using these terms should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have all of the following characteristics:

1. The food is made in limited quantities by skilled craftspeople
2. The processing method is not fully mechanised and follows a traditional method
3. The food is made in a micro-enterprise at a single location
4. The characteristic ingredient(s) used in the food are sourced locally, where seasonally available in the required quantity




Farmhouse 
The term “Farmhouse” or similar terms that create an impression that a food originates on a farm e.g. “farmer’s choice” should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal principles governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have all of the following characteristics:

1. The food is made in limited quantities
2. The food is made in a micro-enterprise
3. The food is made in a single location on a farm
4. The characteristic ingredient(s) used in the food has been sourced locally, where seasonally available in the required quantity.

It is acknowledged that there are certain foods that have used the term ‘Farmhouse’ for many years to mean that the food has a rustic look or a coarse or a chunky texture. Such terms used on these specific foods are well understood by the consumer and therefore the term ‘farmhouse’ may continue to be used on the following foods even if they do not have the four characteristics specified above:

  • Bread with a split and rounded crust with or without flour dressing 
  • Soup made with coarse cut or chunky vegetables 
  • Paté made with a coarse texture 

In addition a derogation is also necessary for fresh pasteurised milk and cream since these are short shelf life products where processing occurs close to the farm within a short time period. Although the use of the term ‘farmhouse’ to describe these products would not be acceptable the use of the term ‘Farm Fresh’ has been associated with such products for a number of years and may continue to be used.




Traditional 
The term “Traditional” conveys a sense of continuity and an impression that a food is made in a time honoured way or to a time honoured recipe. The term ‘Traditional’ or similar descriptions using this term should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to have one of the following characteristics:

1. The food is made to an authentic recipe which can be proved to have existed without significant modification for at least 30 years

OR 

2. The food has been made using a method of preparation that has :

  • Existed for more than 30 years although automation and mechanisation of these methods is acceptable.
    and 
  • Does not deviate substantially from the original food processing method associated with a certain type of food. 




Natural 
The term ‘natural’ or variations on this term (e.g. naturally better, natural goodness) that give the impression that a food exists in, or is formed by, nature - should only be used on foods that comply with the general legal rules governing the use of marketing terms and in addition can legitimately claim to meet all of the following criteria: 

1. The food is formed by nature and is not significantly interfered with by man 

2. The food is additive free or contains no artificial additives, colours or flavours other than flavourings that are natural as defined in European law and other food additives that are obtained from natural sources (e.g. plants) by appropriate physical processing (including distillation and solvent extraction) or traditional preparation processes. 

Finished foods that do not meet criteria 1 but are comprised of raw ingredients prior to processing that meet criteria 1 and 2, should not themselves be described directly or by implication as “natural”, but it is acceptable to describe such finished foods as “made from natural ingredients” 

The use of the term ‘natural’ has sometimes been restricted by law and in other cases has become synonymous with a certain type of product. In these specific cases the term ’natural’ may continue to be used on products which may not meet the two characteristics listed above. The following foods fall into this restricted category:
  • “natural mineral water”: Can only be used on water that meets the requirements of Directive 2009/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters. 
  • Foods that meet the conditions allowing use of the word ‘natural’ or ‘naturally’ before the certain nutritional claims as specified in Regulation (EC) No. 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. 
  • Dairy products that have, for many years, included the term ‘natural’ to indicate that the dairy product is manufactured only from milk using only the starter cultures necessary for fermentation and are free from other ingredients, additives, flavourings and colours, e.g. :
“Natural yoghurt” : plain unflavoured yoghurt 
“Natural fromage frais” : plain unflavoured fromage frais 
“Natural cheese” : plain unflavoured cheese




The Draft Code of Practice was developed for consultation by a working group consisting of the FSAI, Food and Drink Industry Ireland, the Artisan Forum and the Consumers Association of Ireland. 

The consultation will run for 8 weeks and the Closing Date for Responses is 14th May 2014. 

All Irish Food Producers and all others with an interest in this should download the full text of the Draft Code of Practice of Marketing Terms on the FSAI website HERE.

Zack

The Search is on for Ireland's Top Foodie Town for 2014

Update below - Ireland's Foodie Town - Winner Announced!

Could your hometown be Ireland's Top Foodie Town for 2014? The Restaurants Association of Ireland, in conjunction with Admailer.ie from An Post, are on the search for Ireland’s premier foodie destination. Is your town Ireland's Top Foodie Town?




Towns and communities from all over Ireland are invited to battle it out to be named Ireland’s Top Town for a Foodie Experience.


The judges are looking for towns that actively promote themselves through food festivals, gourmet trails, farmers’ markets and great dining experiences.

Does your town have an established local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses? Do you know what plans there are for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level?



Communities across the country are urged to get together with local businesses, foodie groups, Chambers of Commerce and other working groups to submit their applications and promote their area to both local people and visitors.

The Prize!


  • The winning town will be crowned ‘Ireland's Foodie Town 2014’ and will receive a prize package worth €5,000 combining an Admailer.ie postcard marketing package and mentorship from senior An Post marketing executives to help raise the profile of the town. 
  • Nine runners up will each receive an Admailer.ie prize package to value of €500 each.

The Top 10 Foodie Towns of Ireland have been announced
and Voting is NOW Open!
 

Following a huge response all over Ireland to the initial launch of the competition the judges have now whittled the entries down to Ten Finalist. The ten chosen finalist towns will now receive a visit by the judges which are comprised of Independent Assessors, a representative from the Restaurants Association of Ireland & a representative from An Post. A national public voting campaign is now being held with each of the ten finalists canvassing the country to vote for them.

The Ten Foodie Town Finalists are:

  • Cork City
  • Dingle
  • Galway City
  • Howth
  • Kilkenny
  • Kinsale
  • Lisdoonvarna
  • Loop Head
  • Sligo Town
  • Westport & Clew Bay

The Judging Process

Stage One was to...
  • Complete & submit an Application Form online or download and email your Application form
  • There are seven areas of criteria to be judged on, each carrying a weighing percentage to total 100%.
  • The application must be submitted by a minimum 3 businesses/working groups together.
  • Deadline for Applications is Wednesday, April 9th 2014.
  • All applications will be reviewed and a shortlist of 10 finalist destinations will be announced.

Stage Two now is...
  • The ten finalists will be subject to a pre-arranged visit to the town by the Judges comprising of Independent Assessors, a representative from the Restaurants Association of Ireland & a representative from An Post.
  • A national public voting campaign will also be held with each of the ten finalists canvassing the country to vote for them.
  • The final decision will be made by combining the judges’ votes with the public vote that carry equal weight – both components account for 50% of the overall mark a town receives.

Click HERE to Vote for you favourite Foodie Town Today!

The winner of ‘Ireland's Foodie Town 2014’ will be announced at the National Finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards in Dublin on June 9th. Get voting now and good luck to all involved!
Zack


UPDATE - Dingle wins title of Foodie Town of Ireland 2014

A Winner has been picked and Dingle has been crowned Top Foodie Town of Ireland 2014 from the shortlist of finalists. The winner was announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards on the 9th of June. The ‘Foodie Town of Ireland’ award recognised Dingle for actively promoting itself through joint activities such as food festivals, gourmet trails and farmers’ markets as well as great dining experiences. 


"Throughout our judging process, we have seen Dingle go above and beyond to give their tourists the best foodie experience," the judges commented. "They have a well-established local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses, they also actively plan for future growth and investment in the food and hospitality industry at a local level. Education, training, development and employment are key components of the ultimate foodie destination, of which we have seen in abundance in Dingle."


Once cited as one of the most beautiful places on earth by National Geographic, the blue waters surrounding the lush green hills of the Dingle Peninsula give rise to not only the beautiful scenery that it is now famous for but also to an intense devotion  by its residents to the fresh locally landed, reared and produced foods. The small town offer visitors 52 places to eat enabling you to feast on not only the impeccably  fresh fish landed daily but also on an array of locally produced food and drink which draws its inspiration from our naturally bountiful surroundings.


The people of the Dingle Peninsula have adopted a type of self sufficiency and we are now producing as large a range of products locally as you would find anywhere in the world, from locally landed fresh and smoked fish, lamb and beef to cheeses & ice creams made using the milk of the rare Kerry Cow. Local free-range eggs, locally produced black pudding, sausages and rashers, preserves, breads, chocolates, pies, salamis, chorizo and pates are all available from local producers.


Visitors to the area are welcome to sample the local delicacies in every shop, eatery and Bar in Dingle, tour the local brewery and distillery, visit the weekly farmers market and follow the Dingle Peninsula Food Trail. The food trail  brings visitors on a veritable œtreasure huntof Dingles Foodie Offerings. Other visitor activities include foraging walks, boat charters allowing you to Catch and Cook your own fish, cheese making classes and cookery demonstrations.


Dingle, ‘Foodie Town of Ireland 2014’, will now receive a prize package worth €5,000 combining an Admailer.ie postcard marketing package and mentorship from senior An Post marketing executives to help raise the profile of their town. Each of the nine runners up will each receive an Admailer.ie prize package to value of €500 each.
Zack

Myrtle Allen, the Mother of Modern Irish Food, celebrates her 90th Birthday

Today we celebrate the 90th Birthday of one of Ireland's best known chefs and the founder of Ballymaloe House & Cookery School - Myrtle Allen.


Myrtle Allen, the mother of Modern Irish Food

In 1962, Myrtle's love of cooking got her a job as Cookery Correspondent with the Irish Farmers Journal and in 1964 she opened The Yeat's Room Restaurant at Ballymaloe House in Co Cork. In doing so, she founded Ireland's best loved catering dynasty.

Along with her then sous-chef, Darina O'Connell, now married to Myrtle's son Tim Allen, Myrtle started giving courses in cooking and the now famous Ballymaloe Cookery School was born. Myrtle always believed in using the freshest seasonal ingredients and in letting the natural flavours of food speak for itself. This is the cornerstone of the Ballymaloe restaurant and their cookery school teachings to this day. The school is now run by Darina. Top lecturers at the school include brother Rory O'Connell and her daughter-in-law, TV Chef Rachel Allen.


Myrtle's restaurant at Ballymaloe House also celebrates 50 years in business this year

In 1986 Myrtle Allen was asked to help found Euro-toques International and was also the founder-member of Euro-toques Ireland. Euro-toques is an organisation of professional cooks promoting & protecting Europe's culinary heritage, and defending the quality of local and carefully cooked food.

Many of Ireland's top chefs and restaurateurs learned their trade at the apron-strings of Myrtle Allen and her style of cooking is the backbone of what is now called "Modern Irish" food. Her contribution to the artisan food movement in Ireland has been crucial to it's continued development. 

Myrtle is considered by most to be the matriarch of modern Irish food and her family continue to encourage and teach a new generation of cooks and chefs at her beloved Ballymaloe.

It is very fitting on this, her birthday, that Mrs Allen is bestowed with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Food Writers Guild at their annual award ceremony held at l’Ecrivain restaurant on Baggot Street, Dublin, where Michelin-starred chef Derry Clarke creating stunning dishes with the award-winning ingredients.

Happy Birthday Mrs Allen and best wishes from all your Irish Food lovers and admirers!

Zack.

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The Irish Food Guide Blog www.IrishFoodGuide.ie includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

It is written & curated by Zack Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

“My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 27 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

Zack is building an all-Ireland Food Tourism network to assist Tour Operators bringing guests into Ireland to connect easily with artisan Irish food producers, so as they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food Visit www.IrishFoodTours.ie

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