Member states are seeking industry views on the recent draft regulation, set to limit the number and quantities of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can be added to foods, before sending their comments back to the Commission.
The regulation is designed to harmonise the different rules that currently exist throughout the EU and allow the free movement of fortilied foods throughout the region.
The proposal adopted by the Commission last month involves establishing a list of approved vitamins and minerals which could be added to food, as well as maximum and minimum levels, in a similar way to the food supplements directive.
Substances such as herbal extracts, proteins and amino acids would also be examined by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to assess any possible risk to human health. The regulation would apply to all foods, except fresh food such as fruit, vegetables, meat and alcoholic drinks.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) also opened a consultation facility on its website this week, for all consumers and interested parties to submit their views on the proposal. Comments must be submitted before the end of January 2004 and can also be sent by mail.
Dr Pat O'Mahony, chief specialist of biotechnology at the FSAI, said the consultation section would also serve as an early warning system for the food industry with respect to legislation being prepared.
"It also allows the FSAI to gauge the depth of consumer and industry interest and solicit their views on key food safety issues," he added.
A preliminary draft of the proposed measures was first produced and discussed in 2000 and an updated draft issued earlier this year. The adopted proposal differs from earlier drafts in a number of ways.
The FSA is producing a partial Regulatory Impact Assessment for recipients to comment on as part of the consultation and organising a stakeholder meeting for early January 2004.