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Labeling Ready Meals as Bake

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Posted 13 October 2023 - 01:46 PM

Hello everyone,
I work as a packaging compliance for a company in Ireland, and we recently had a question about the term 'bake' that we use for our orzo bake product. Some have suggested that we cannot label a product as a 'Bake' unless the recommended cooking method is the oven. However, our product is a ready meal with microwave-only heating instructions.
I did some research, but I couldn't find any specific EU or other legal requirements related to the term 'bake.' I want to ensure that we are compliant with using this name for our product. Any insights or information on this topic would be greatly appreciated.



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Posted 13 October 2023 - 06:31 PM

I couldn't find a regulatory labeling standard for that word, so take this as just my logic:
According to the Oxford Dictionary:
bake noun
​a dish consisting of mixed ingredients that is cooked in the oven
I would think as long as it is baked in the manufacturing process, you can argue it isn't inaccurate or misleading. Do those suggesting otherwise have a regulation they are basing their point off of or just opinion? 



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Posted 13 October 2023 - 06:52 PM

That sounds like a legal gray area


like when subway got taken to court (and lost) because their foot long sub wasn't 12 inches once baked but was when it was frozen


So from a regulatory standpoint, you're best bet is to ensure your packaging is "truthful and not misleading"


and just because you cannot find it specifically, doesn't make it legal---they will find a way

Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs


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Posted 13 October 2023 - 10:03 PM

One of my plants just got dinged for a microwave entree they labeled "heat and serve" on the outside with instructions on the back stating "Cook to 165F", directions for oven or microwave.  Whoopsies.  Now the front label says "Cook and serve" with recommended microwave and oven times on the back.


Not familiar with Ireland standards.  In the US, the controversy usually comes between saying "heat" or "cook".  If your product is truly "heat and serve", and consumer cooking to a lethal temp is not part of your HACCP for this product, you might be able to get away with bake and serve without misleading.


Now, if you tell customers to bake the product on the front, microwave on the back, will your product melt and be destroyed in a 204C oven?  If yes because it's a plastic tray, I'd be super wary telling anyone to bake the product anywhere on the label...

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