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New guide to help food businesses with legal compliance issues when promoting or selling food online.

It has come to our attention from FP Logue Solicitors that the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)has just published a guide aimed at food businesses with legal compliance issues when promoting or selling food online.

Here is an excerpt of the FSAI press release:

Given the upward growth in food being sold and promoted online, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today published a new guide to assist food businesses comply with their legislative requirements in order to safeguard consumer health and rights at all times. Selling or Advertising Food Online* sets out the information that must be provided to consumers by food businesses promoting or selling food online via websites or social media. It is the first guide that specifies what a business must do to comply with the law to ensure that consumers get the same information online, before making a purchase, as they would if they bought the product in a store. The legislation around labelling, advertising, health claims, nutrition claims and allergen declarations apply to foods sold online, as well as over the counter.

According to Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI, online shopping in the Irish grocery sector is at €170m per annum and whilst it represents just 1.2% of overall sales, this figure is expected to rise rapidly over the next few years to reach 4.5% by 2021.

“No matter how a consumer buys a food product, be it in-store or online, the food laws apply equally to both transactions. Consumers have the right to expect the product is safe to eat and that they also have access to the details of the product so that they can make a decision based on accurate information. Anyone selling or advertising food online is classed as a food business owner and they must comply with relevant legislation. This guide assists them do so as it sets out all the various areas they must comply with. We also have our Advice Line which is manned by experts who can go through the various legal obligations and the provisions that they place on food businesses in the interest of protecting consumers.”

The FSAI states that the food law enforcement community will be adjusting their way of working to police foods advertised or offered for sale online, as well as those advertised and sold from physical premises. It urged food business and internet platforms and third parties hosts to ensure they are providing the information as required by law.

The guide makes it clear that if a food business sells or advertises food online, they are responsible for the food information provided to their customer and must comply with relevant food law.

You can read the original press release here and download the guide here.

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