The two co-legislators, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the proposal for a Regulation on food intended for infants and young children and food for special medical purposes. The new regulation aims to clarify, simplify and improve the legal framework on specific food for vulnerable people, as well as ensuring that the adequate level of information to consumers is provided with appropriate labelling requirements.
The new Regulation establishes compositional and informational requirements for the following categories of foods: infant formula (0-6 months), follow-on formula (6-12 months), processed cereal-based and baby food, food for special medical purposes and total diet replacement for weight control.
The Regulation also provides rules for establishing and updating a common list of substances (“Union list”) that may be added to one or more categories of food. Besides this, the new legislation contains provisions for information on the labelling, to avoid parents being misled by attractive and inappropriate labelling. As regards the information for certain groups with specific dietary requirements (such as intolerance to gluten) current provisions will be maintained to guarantee the same level of protection for them by ensuring appropriate food labelling. The new Regulation is expected to reduce the administrative burden, bring clarity and consistency within the EU and provide flexibility in the innovative food market.
The product of lengthy negotiations
This is considered a key regulation for the protection and information of EU citizens and is the product of lengthy negotiations between European Parliament and the Council, led by the Cyprus EU Presidency.
“This was a priority for us and we were determined to close a fair deal for the maximum protection within our Presidency,” said Ambassador George Zodiates, deputy Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the EU.
The agreement is regarded as important due to the fact that the current framework in place for regulating these products has been in need of revision. The new rules will not only improve the protection of vulnerable people but also bring legislation in line with the evolution of the overall food regulatory system as well as the evolution of the market. It does so by simplifying the entire legislative framework and removing unnecessary and outdated rules.
The application of the old framework Directive 2009/39/EC on foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional users differs significantly between Member States and creates distortions in the internal market. With the adoption of the new regulation the old directive will be repealed and the concept of “dietetic foods” will be abolished.
The final text of the proposal of the new regulation will be submitted to the Council for adoption by the end of 2012.