The European Dietetic Food Industry Association (IDACE) says first-reading amendments to EU dietetic food laws approved in the European Parliament today can provide the basis for a ‘soft landing’ even as the current proposal sees the removal of images that idealise infant formulas used by babies up to 12 months old.
Previously this restriction only applied to infant formulas to be used by babies up to six months, but now ‘follow-on’ formulas will face the same restrictions across the bloc.
Other categories to be affected are gluten-free and slimming foods, which will also face stricter labelling requirements.
IDACE said the mooted changes, “will provide appropriate legal solutions to ensure the continued protection of consumers, enabling them to properly manage their dietary requirements with products specially designed to suit their needs.”
Roger Clarke, member of the IDACE operational board, said: “This first-reading position from the European Parliament sends a strong signal to the European Commission and the Council and will serve as an excellent negotiating basis for the upcoming second-reading decision-making procedure.”
“Whilst IDACE acknowledges the efforts undertaken so far by the three institutions, the conclusion of the revision will only be successful if the Council, Commission and European Parliament agree on effective rules for all our specialised nutrition products and if a ‘soft landing’ is achieved for those categories that fall into general food legislation.”
“This revision has proven to be extremely complex, and we need to find appropriate answers for many legislative uncertainties that currently remain unresolved.”
The EP also said the Commission should review, “the currently complex legal situation of milks intended for children between 12 and 36 months old (so-called ‘growing-up milks’) and propose new rules for them if needed.”
The Parliament suggested food products intended for people with gluten intolerance should contain less than 100mg of gluten per kg and may be labelled as having, "very low gluten content".
Those containing less than 20mg of gluten per kg should be labelled "gluten free".
They also said there needed to be more rules governing lactose intolerance products.
Energy-restricted diets and diet foods intended for the general public should be regulated by the 2006 health claims regulation, the MEPs said.