FSA to consult on fortification rules

Related tags European union European commission

Proposed new regulations governing the voluntary fortification of
foodstuffs with vitamins and minerals are to be discussed by the UK
Food Standards Agency.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced that it is to consult on the preliminary steps taken by the European Commission to consider the harmonisation of community rules on the voluntary addition of vitamins and minerals to food.

The proposal considers three reasons for the addition of nutrients to foods. Firstly, 'restoration', to ensure that in the final product offered to the consumer, the levels of nutrient(s) lost during storage, handling and manufacturing are equal to original levels. Secondly, 'substitution', to produce substitute foods (for example, margarine as a substitute for butter) that resemble other foods in appearance, taste and nutritional value. Thirdly, 'fortification/enrichment', the addition of vitamins or minerals irrespective of whether these nutrients were present originally (for example in breakfast cereals).

The Commission has published a preliminary draft proposal for a regulation that aims to increase consumer protection in the EU15 by ensuring that the voluntary addition of nutrients or other substances to foods does not present any risk to public health.

A further aim, and crucial to encouraging the free market within the EU, is to help to ensure that such products are not prevented from being traded freely within the EU.

The proposal will not affect national rules on mandatory fortification, for example on the fortification of flour. Furthermore, it will not apply to foods for particular nutritional uses (PARNUTS), for example infant formulae, to novel foods and novel food ingredients, or to food supplements.

As drafted, the proposal also includes a number of provisions on labelling, presentation and advertising of foods to which vitamins and minerals have been added.

The Commission's preliminary draft proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to foods SANCO/329/03 (17/01/2003),​ will be discussed at an expert meeting in Brussels at the beginning of March 2003.

It is a follow-up to an informal draft proposal that was published by the Commission in June 2000 (SANCO/1478/00) and discussed by Member States at a Commission working group in September 2000.

In Europe today there are no community rules on the voluntary addition of nutrients to foods and member states' national rules vary widely.

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