"Protecting children's health is an absolute priority for me", Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne commented today. "I am therefore pleased to see that Member States support our proposal. This is a good example of how the new EU food law can work in practice, by taking targeted and decisive action to protect all EU citizens, and in particular their children."
Jelly mini-cups are marketed in the EU by different manufacturers as a single portion, pre-packaged sweet or confectionery, mainly intended for children. Some manufacturers already include a warning on the product highlighting the risk for children and the elderly. Member States agreed today with a proposal for a Commission Decision that suspends the marketing of the product because such warnings are insufficient to protect children. It also suspends the use of this additive in similar products. This implies that manufacturers and importers will have to recall all jelly mini-cups and other jelly confectionery containing konjac from shop shelves.
The emergency measure is taken using the new powers conferred on the European Commission by Regulation (EC) Nr. 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety, which entered into force last February. Article 53 of this Regulation authorises the Commission to suspend the marketing of a food that is likely to constitute a serious risk to human health when such a risk cannot be contained satisfactorily by national measures. Given the disparity of the measures taken by some Member States and the fact that others have not taken any measures at all, the Commission found EU-wide measures necessary to provide adequate health protection to all EU citizens.
Konjac is used as a gelling agent and thickener in food products. It is also called konjac gum, konjac glucomannan, conjac, konnyaku, yam flour or glucomannan. Jelly mini-cups are individual, mouth-sized servings, containing a small piece of preserved fruit, including apple, mango, lychee and assorted fruit. The plastic cup is approximately the size of a single-service coffee creamer. These are sold in various package sizes (e.g. bags, plastic jars) or individually. Some packets may be labelled with precautionary advice.
The Standing Committee of the Food Chain and Animal Health is the new regulatory committee as set up under Regulation (EC) Nr. 178/2002.