Commission Midday Express, 28 June 2007
On Sunday 1st July, the new legislation on Health and Nutrition Claims, and on Fortified Foods, will come into application across the EU. These two Regulations aim to create a clearer situation for consumers in terms of the food that they are buying, and a level playing field for food manufacturers across Europe . Under the Health and Nutrition Claims Regulation, only claims which are clear, accurate and substantiated will be allowed to be used in the labelling, marketing and advertising of food. Detailed conditions are laid down for the use of nutrition claims such as "low fat" and "high in fibre", and following a transition period of 4 years, a nutrition claim will only be allowed to used if it fits a certain nutritional profile (i.e. below a certain salt, fat and/or sugar level). The Commission will draw up a positive list of well-established health claims, such as "calcium is good for your bones", which may be used on a label so long as they are proven to apply to the food in question. Nutrition and health claims will not be allowed on alcoholic drinks from July 1st, unless they refer to a reduction in alcohol or energy content.
The Commission also adopted a proposal today to introduce a transition period for the use of claims referring to children's health and development. This was unintentionally omitted from the main Health Claims Regulation during the last phase of the adoption of the text. The transitional period is important so as to allow industry time to adapt to the new rules (either by phasing out products which do not meet the new criteria, or by applying for claim authorisation).
The Regulation on Fortified Foods sets out harmonised EU rules on the addition of vitamins, minerals and other substances to foods. For example, all fortified foods will have to carry nutritional label, and alcoholic drinks above 0.2% alcohol content will not be allowed to be fortified.