Food Law News - UK - 2013

DH Interested Parties Update, 20 December 2014

LABELLING - Update bulletin from DH Food Information and Promotions Team: Children's RIs

A copy of a bulletin that we are today publishing on the website is attached for your information.  It outlines the UK’s agreed position on Children’s Reference Intakes (formally known as Guideline Daily Amounts), having taken into account expert opinions from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

This is the text of the Bulletin:


Update on Children’s Reference Intakes

The EU Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers (EU FIC) currently provides only for the use of adults’ reference intakes (RIs), unless a Member State implements a national measure (legislation or guidance) allowing the voluntary use of different RIs for ‘specific population groups’ such as children.  EU FIC also tasks the European Commission to adopt implementing acts on the “indication of reference intakes for specific population groups”, but the Commission has not yet made any plans to do this.   

In May 2013, the Department of Health asked the Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition (SACN) to consider:

In its report, SACN concluded that one set of RIs for children could not adequately reflect the variation in energy level requirements and nutrient recommendations for different childhood ages and stages of development.  It also advised against using the IGD values as the basis of any UK national measure because these were out of date. 

SACN highlighted the complexity of this issue and identified some of the difficulties that would have to be resolved when developing children’s RIs.  In addition, as this is an issue the EC is mandated to look at, the development in the UK of any RIs for specific groups could be overtaken by work at a European level. 

A pragmatic approach is called for at this stage.  We therefore recommend that businesses choose one of the following three options for their products marketed specifically for children:

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