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DoH, Bulletin, 25 February 2015
The Department of Health has circulated a ‘Bulletin Intended For Interested Parties’. The text is as follows:
The European Commission held its second technical working group meeting of 2015 on Foods for Specific Groups (FSGs) with Member States (MS) on 18 February. Working documents listing the issues for discussion were circulated to MS by the Commission shortly before the meeting. These documents were also circulated to interested parties prior to the meeting.
Only three of the four delegated acts (i.e. the draft Regulation on Food for Special Medical Purposes, draft Regulation on processed cereal-based food and baby food and the draft Regulation on infant formula and follow-on formula) were tabled for consideration and there was no information on the delegated act on total diet replacement for weight control. This bulletin does not give all the details, but seeks to highlight the following key issues that were discussed.
The Commission outlined the process for the delegated acts on FSGs: this would be the last meeting with MS experts before the Commission starts its inter-service consultation in the next few weeks, and time for any further comments to the Commission on the draft Regulations would be very limited. This would be followed by a Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT) submission which requires a two month standstill, after which the Commission would adopt its text in the form of draft Regulations for the European Parliament (EP) and European Council scrutiny.
Scrutiny lasts two months (with an extension of two months if requested) and would be followed by publication in the Official Journal. If this timetable is followed the delegated acts in the form of Regulations should be published at or around 20 July 2015 (i.e. the target date).
2. Date of Delegated Acts entering into force
Dates of coming into force were discussed after concerns that food business operators would have difficulty adapting to the new compositional requirements in the time allowed. Some limited flexibility could be expected, but the Commission is unlikely to accept the five years requested for infant and follow-on formulas. Apart from the mainly technical changes signalled, major divergence from the working documents text would not be expected.
The Commission did state that it could amend or revise these draft Regulations under its own initiative and that this could be necessary in light of the reports it must complete as outlined in the framework regulation (EU) No 609/2013 or these delegated acts, including that on complementary feeding by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and young child formula by the Commission.
3. International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes
There was some discussion as to whether the delegated acts would allow revision of text that implement certain principles, such as the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and advice on the age of beginning complementary feeding. The Commission did not consider its mandate extended to make any such changes.
4. Draft Regulation on infant formula and follow-on formula delegated act
Technical issues subject to further revision on Infant and follow-on formula draft Regulation:
Essential Composition of Infant Formula and Follow- on Formula after preparation in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions
a) Annex I of working document (section 8.1 & 8.4 Glucose, including syrup-type forms, liquid or dried) & Annex II of working document (section 6.4)
- Glucose syrup is considered as a source of glucose, for which there is a limit. Concerns had been raised that this limit would not be met on this basis, whereas glucose syrup is not equivalent or similar to glucose, in fact containing only a limited amount of glucose, being predominantly longer chain sugars. It was suggested glucose syrup be considered a source of added dextrose rather than added glucose.
- Gluten in glucose: EFSA had advised that gluten free glucose was not necessary at the levels expected under the compositional standards.
b) Infant formula & Follow on formula manufactured from cows’ milk or goats’ milk proteins or protein hydrolysates (page 20, 21 & 28 of working document) -Mineral Substances: Infant formula and Follow on formula manufactured from soya protein isolates, alone or in a mixture with cows’ milk or goats’ milk proteins- ( page 21, 22 & 29 of working document ) -Mineral substances; Infant formula- Vitamins (page 22 of working document); Follow on formula- Vitamins (page 29 of working document)
- Some adjustments to minimum and maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals that must or could be added to infant formula and Follow on Formula are to be expected.
c) Annex I of working document (section 11) & Annex II of working document (section 9) minimum and maximum of Vitamin D
An issue with the vitamin D level was raised as it was feared it could lead to over-consumption in countries with a supplementation programme. The Commission thought this unlikely but should be monitored.
5. Milk-based fortified drinks and similar products intended for young children (described as "young-child formulae")
On this last issue, the Commission asked MS for comments on its working document on options for control of this product. We have already copied this to interested parties.