EP Daily Notebook, 26 May 2005
National rules vary widely concerning addition of vitamins or minerals to food. A new European regulation has been welcomed by Parliament, in first reading, to avoid discrepancies in the internal market and to offer useful information to consumers in order to avoid imbalances in their diet or even vitamin overdose. The report by Karin SCHEELE (PES, AT) was adopted by the plenary by 516 votes in favour, 69 against and 6 abstentions.
The new regulation establishes positive lists of vitamins and minerals (more than 100 substances) which may be added to food. Fortified foodstuffs are marketed by producers as products that are beneficial and this could lead the consumers to increase their intake and to exceed recommended levels. That is why the regulation recommends to define daily intakes of specific substances. A negative list of "other substances" added to food, mentioning only forbidden substances, will also be established. With this regulation, fortified foods should be labelled in order to offer the useful information needed by the consumer if he wants to know the other nutritional properties of the fortified product.
Foods and beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol may not be fortified with an exception voted by the EP concerning some traditional products marketed prior to the adoption of the Regulation.