The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) today published a new guidance note Good Manufacturing Practices for the Production of Ready-to-eat Unpasteurised Fermented Plant-based Products to assist producers to produce safe products. The guidance was developed in light of a survey carried out by the FSAI on unpasteurised plant-based fermented beverages (such as kombucha, kefir and ginger soda). The survey results identified a problem with the alcohol content of some beverages. Under EU labelling rules, the alcohol content of food products containing more than 1.2% alcohol by volume must be declared in order to inform consumer choice. Failure to comply with these declaration requirements means that such products can pose a risk to vulnerable consumers such as pregnant or breastfeeding women or people with underlying health conditions who unwittingly consume alcohol. People’s livelihoods may also be affected where even low levels of alcohol are not permitted, for example drivers with learner permits, operators of heavy machinery and airline pilots, among others.

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