The European Commission is proposing the unifying regulation to replace the current patchwork of national rules that food processors currently have to contend with. Some additivesare virtually banned in some countries but are authorised in others with a wide range of restrictions. As a result, "fortified" products cannot always be sold everywhere in the single market,the European Commission states.
The discrepancies act be a commercial barrier for food processors in the single market and do not guarantee the best level of consumer protection, the Commission believes. The European Commission proposals would also ban the addition of the substances to fresh non-processed produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish and to beverages containing more than1.2 per cent by volume of alcohol.
But the European Parliament's environment, public health and food safety committee have amended the proposals to exempt tonic wines, which are sold primarily in the UK. They would also exempt theaddition of certain substances that help combat the trade in counterfeit spirits.
"The committee is not against the regulation's requirement for detailed nutrition labelling, as it is in the case of the regulation on food health claims, but it does tightenup the wording of the Commission proposal," according to a press release by the bloc's administrative body.
MEPs in the committee want to make it mandatory for manufacturers to state a recommended daily intake and to put a warning not to exceed therecommended daily allowance on their food products.
Parliament's standing committee on the food chain and animal health would be able to amend the list of authorised vitamins and minerals and the list of products to which the substances may not beadded. The standing committee may, at the request of member states, draw up a negative list of substances which are banned, restricted or "under community scrutiny" under the amendedproposals.
"The new regulation, like the one on food health claims, would rectify this situation while ensuring that consumers are properly protected," the commission stated.
The proposals for the legislation are available as a Word document by clicking here.