Food Law News - EU - 2008

Committee Summary Record, 23 June 2008

PARNUTS Committee Discussions: Exchange of views on the draft Commission Regulation concerning the composition and labelling of foods suitable for people intolerant to gluten

The following is an extract from the summary record of the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health: Section on General Food Law held on 23 June 2008

The draft Regulation aims at setting up conditions to be fulfilled, including composition requirements, for labelling foodstuffs as "very low gluten" or "gluten free". It was submitted for a first exchange of views after discussions within the working group on foodstuffs for particular nutritional uses.

Most of the Member States welcomed this draft and in particular the fact that a Regulation has been chosen as legal instrument instead of a Directive.

Some delegations expressed concerns on the interaction between the proposed rules and the existing provisions on gluten in Commission Directive 2006/141/EC on infant formulae and follow-on formulae and Directive 2006/125/EC on processed cereal-based and baby foods for infants and young children. The Commission agreed that this should be clarified in the draft Regulation.

Several delegations also pointed out that the use of the term 'gluten-free' for other dietetic foods not specially intended for gluten intolerant people should not be misleading for the consumer by suggesting that these foods possess special characteristics when in fact all similar foods possess such characteristics. This should be clarified as it is already the case for the foodstuffs for normal consumption.

Regarding the requirement that the terms 'gluten-free' and 'very low gluten' shall accompany the name under which the food is sold, some Member States expressed concerns about the wording of that statement because: it could be understood that these terms would have to be part of the name of the products while the intention of the legislator is that such terms should be in proximity to the name of the products.

Finally, the transitional period proposed was considered as too short by some delegations.

It was concluded that the Commission will review the draft in the light of the discussion, and will send a revised version, on which Member States are invited to provide written comments by 11 July 2008.

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