Food Law News - EU - 2001

FSA Letter, 26 September 2001

LABELLING - Labelling of Foods Containing Caffeine and Quinine

The FSA letter of
6 September 2001 sought comments on a proposal to require

The proposal was discussed by the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs in Brussels on 19th September and received a generally favourable response. Some concern was expressed that the "high caffeine content" declaration would not be required on products high in "hidden caffeine" derived from other sources (such as guarana). Doubt was expressed about the usefulness of indicating the caffeine content of foods containing more than 150mg/kg or mg/l when consumers will have no "bench mark" against which to compare these figures. There were suggestions that a maximum level should be set for the caffeine content of foods, and that warning statements about the presence of quinine should be required in the same way as for caffeine. It was also suggested that flavouring extracts rich in quinine (like chincona extracts) should be covered by the quinine labelling requirement. It was also thought that a Commission Experts Group should be asked to consider the proposal before it is discussed any further by the Standing Committee.

The Commission did not accept the need to set maximum permitted levels for caffeine content, or to require a general warning statement for quinine. The Commission will, however, consider the "hidden caffeine" point and the possibility of arranging an Experts Group meeting to go over the proposal. It is likely the Commission will prepare a revised proposal.

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