Food Law News - EU - 2009

FSA Letter (CPD/0008), 20 February 2009

LABELLING - European Commission's Proposal for a Food Information Regulation: Council Working Group meeting update on nutrition labelling and fibre determination

A Council Working Group meeting took place on 12 February 2009 at which nutrition labelling aspects of the proposal for a Food Information Regulation were discussed.

There was continuing support from the majority of Member States for some form of mandatory nutrition declaration and a short discussion on which nutrients should be mandatory and which voluntary.

A number of Member States reiterated their desire to maintain the status quo in terms of the form of expressing the nutrition declaration i.e. mandatory per 100g/ml declarations with additional per portion and %RIV information on a voluntary basis.

The Commission representative informed the working group that in the light of previous discussions in Council working groups the Commission had formally requested the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide an opinion on the reference intake values for macronutrients included in Annex XI Part B. EFSA had subsequently indicated that they expect to be able to deliver the opinion by the summer.

Many Member States restated their preference to temporarily exempt all alcoholic drinks above 1.2% volume from mandatory nutrition labelling but to require energy declaration on all alcoholic drinks.

There was a further discussion on the list of foods proposed to be exempted from having to carry a nutrition declaration (Annex IV), with requests for definitions of some of the terms used and a discussion on the scope and extent of some of the proposed exemptions

Follow up to Directive 2008/100/EC and other technical issues

The Member States were updated on the Commission's planned work on developing guidance on analytical methodology for fibre determination. A discussion paper on this topic is expected to be circulated to Member States by mid April 2009 for discussion in a future Commission working group meeting. The Commission is also preparing a discussion paper on tolerances for declared nutrition values which is expected to be circulated to Member States by the end of May 2009. The views of stakeholders will be sought on these issues in advance of any discussions in working group meetings.

[For Directivee 2008/100, see: Commission Directive 2008/100/EC of 28 October 2008 amending Council Directive 90/496/EEC on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs as regards recommended daily allowances, energy conversion factors and definitions (OJ L285, 29.10.2008, page 9)]

Next Steps

The next Council Working Group meetings are scheduled for 27 February and 27 March 2009.

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