[Irl-dean] Consultation on food labelling -- what about accessibility

Tim Culhane tim.culhane at criticalpath.net
Thu May 18 14:27:54 IST 2006

Good idea Eamon,

I know there is a european directive which requires the braille labelling of
medicines etc.

I saw an example of it being implemented when in spain last year.

Seems  that we are dragging our feet on implementing it in Ireland.


-----Original Message-----
From: irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie
[mailto:irl-dean-admin at list.eeng.dcu.ie] On Behalf Of Eamon Mag Uidhir
Sent: 18 May 2006 14:17
To: irl-dean at list.eeng.dcu.ie
Subject: [Irl-dean] Consultation on food labelling -- what about

Hi all,

Copied below is an Irish Times story on a consultation announced by the 
food safety authority on what the public want to have included on food 
labels. This is an opportunity to fully articulate the accessibility 
requirements that have been so consistently ignored by manufacturers and 
retailers up to now. 

For example minimum type size to ensure legibility and readability, 
requirement to use plain English in giving cooking and storing 
instructions to ensure safety when used by people with low vision or 
with cognitive disability issues, clear and explicit warning of 
constituent substances to ensure safety for people with dietary 
restrictions. Is there a case for braille labels? Is there a case for 
mandatory "talking labels" via RFID or Bluetooth type technologies for 
supermarket shelves and aisles so visually impaired shoppers can read 
labels aurally before making buying choices? Should labels in all the 
languages used here now be available, since native English speaking is 
no longer a given, and non-English speakers from small countries are 
being denied access even to the puny amount of information currently 
carried on food labels.

I'm going to put in a submission and I would urge the members of the 
list to turn their accessibility analysis capability away from the 
computer and apply it to the grocery shelves and do likewise. I have 
noticed in the past that fully articulated and well-reasoned arguments 
submitted in these consultation exercises often do make it into the 
final report and can have an influence on policy. In this case, where 
submissions are published, it's probably better to have many well-argued 
submissions rather than just a collective one with multiple signatures, 
though that doesn't mean the list can't make a general input as well.

The deadline is short (May 31) so better move on it if you intend to 


[Irish Times excerpt follows]
Public to be consulted on food labelling*

Members of the public are to be asked their views on food labelling in a 
consultation process announced today by the Food Safety Authority of 
Ireland (FSAI).

The FSAI said the /Food Labelling in the EU/ consultation would inform 
European policy in modernising food labelling regulations and would help 
ensure a coherent approach to labelling in the EU.

*Current labelling practices for nutritional food products can often 
cause confusion amongst consumers*
Alan Reilly, deputy chief executive of the FSAI

The process will focus on general labelling, including whether products 
are marked in a clear and readable way, and also on nutrition issues, 
including salt content in food products.

Labelling of genetically modified foods and the question of health 
warnings on alcoholic drinks will also come under scrutiny.

Alan Reilly, deputy chief executive of the FSAI, said food labelling 
issues have generated much debate in recent times.

"This consultation asks people for their views on everything from 
whether salt content should be mandatory, to whether guidelines should 
be put in place regarding clear and readable labelling.

"Another important area that is addressed is how nutritional information 
is presented on food products. Current labelling practices for 
nutritional food products can often cause confusion amongst consumers, 
so it is hoped that a uniform policy across the EU would assist tackle 
that problem," Mr Reilly said.

The deadline for submissions to the FSAI is Wednesday, May 31st, and the 
full consultation document is available on the FSAI website at 
http://www.fsai.ie <http://www.fsai.ie/>


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