Specialised Nutrition Europe (SNE) made the call with the EU Food for Specific Groups (FSG) regulation set to kick in on July 20 next year, replacing existing PARNUTS (Foods for Particular Nutritional Purposes) regulations and national rules.
While not specifically advocating separate legislation, as is occurring with infant formulas for example, SNE is increasingly pointing this way, while other groups like the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) and soft drink groups see separate legislation as unnecessary and restrictive.
SNE said it was “increasingly concerned by the uncertainties of the future EU framework for the other categories of ‘PARNUTS’.”
In particular, it noted the uncertain influence of two delayed European Commission reports on children’s milks (from 1 to 3 years of age) and sports nutrition products.
“It is critical that specific legal recognition is provided for these food categories to ensure that both young children and sportspeople benefit from the same level of specificity, quality and safety as they do currently.”
It will be hoping separate pieces of legislation for infant formulae and follow-on formulae, baby foods and foods for medical purposes will survive European Parliament examination, as it also supported those proposals.
“The European Parliament now has an important role to play in supporting the Commission in finalising the FSG Regulation. We hope that these three important delegated regulations will be supported by our colleagues to ensure the timely adoption of these proposals” said MEP Giovanni La Via at the event Brussels.
Didier Suberbielle CEO of French sports nutrition firm, Nutrition et Santé, told the event: “Sportspeople need proper nutrition and it is critical that these specific nutritional intakes are reflected in the way sports foods are marketed so that consumers understand why to choose and how to use these products”.
SNE would like to introduce into the legislature a definition that sports nutrition products are “specifically designed, formulated and marketed in relation to physical activity, physical performance and/or post-exercise recovery."
ESSNA’s general food law stance is backed by UNESDA (the Union of European Soft Drinks Associations) which stated at an ESSNA-hosted event also in Brussels earlier this month that sports drinks could “in principle, be regulated adequately by the horizontal [general food] legislation…subject to some adaptation of that legislation.”
ESSNA and UNESDA do not see the need for a strict definition to enter the law books.
SNE members are the national associations of 17 EU member states representing medical, sports, infant and other specialist food firms like Danone-Nutricia, Abbott Labs and Nestlé.