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on the menu

Menu terms like "artisanal", "farmhouse" and "natural" now have to mean something

Chances are, you probably won’t know what those terms mean, other than the food will cost a couple of euro extra.

IF YOU’VE EATEN out or been food shopping any time in the last few years, you’ll have come across terms like “artisanal”, “farmhouse” and “natural”.

Chances are, you probably won’t know what those terms mean, other than the food will cost a couple of euro extra.

Now, however, there will be rules governing what can and can’t be called those specific terms.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) yesterday published new guidance aimed at ensuring consumers are not misled by the use of marketing terms on foods.

The guidance follows a public consultation carried out by a working group and outlines the general legal requirements that food businesses must follow when using marketing terms on food like:

  • Artisan/Artisanal
  • Farmhouse
  • Traditional
  • Natural

The FSAI says that the guidance was needed to ensure that customers were not being misled.

So, what do the terms have to mean?


To be called artisan or artisanal, food must have to be:

  • Made in limited quantities by skilled craftspeople
  • Not made by full mechanised processes
  • Made by a micro-enterprise (a business with fewer than 10 employees) at one location
  • Produced using local ingredients


For farmhouse, the food must be:

  • Made on a farm
  • Made by a micro-enterprise
  • Made with local ingredients

This, however, will not extend to breads and bread mixes with rounded crusts, soup with coarse cut or chunky vegetables, paté and cheese produced on a farm.

Also, foods will not be allowed use “farmhouse-style” unless they use extra qualifiers.


To use traditional, the food must be:

  • Made using a recipe that can be proved to be 30 years old


  • Have existed for more than 30 years, but mechanisation is allowed


Using this term will only be allowed if:

  • The food is “formed by nature and not significantly interfered with by man”
  • The ingredients and final food are additive-free

So, there.

Read: 10 great meals for a tenner in Dublin

Read: We need to ask fundamental questions about the future of Irish food

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