Food Law News - EU - 1997

5 November 1997: NUTRITION LABELLING - Review of the Nutrition Labelling Directive: 90/946/EEC

MAFF Letter, 5 November 1997

Review of the Nutrition Labelling Directive: 90/946/EEC

Early in 1997, the Ministry invited comments on the Nutrition Labelling Directive. These comments have now been considered and a submission made to the European Commission. A copy of the submission has been circulated for information.

The letter contains the following four major points:

  1. Nutrition labelling should be compulsory whether or not a claim has been made.
  2. More information should be given in the prescribed format.
  3. Consideration should be given to making compulsory per serving information in addition to per 100g/ml information or introducing some other more user-friendly format.
  4. The opportunity of the review should be taken to develop criteria for nutrition claims.

Certain additional points described as 'more minor, but still important', are listed and cover the following:

  1. Fibre must be defined and an agreement reached on the method of analysis (Article 1)
  2. There should be definitions for vitamins and minerals e.g. vitamin A (Article 1)
  3. There should be flexibility to require information about additional nutrients under the Directive if it is felt there is a public health issue. (Article 1.4)
  4. It should be permitted to give Guideline Daily Amounts (Article 1.4)
  5. Voluntary nutrition information about trans fatty acids should be allowed even if no claim is made (Article 4.3)
  6. 'Salt' should be allowed in place of 'sodium' or alternatively, included in brackets after sodium, in each case quantifying the sodium content (Article 4)
  7. The order of the listed nutrients should be changed (Article 4.1)
  8. Fat and calories per serving should be permitted to be given (or repeated) separately from the nutrition panel (Article 4)
  9. The Directive should include a conversion factor of 1kcal/1g - 5KJ/g for polydextrose; and two different factors for fat, i.e. 4kcal/g for those fats in the range 1kcal-4.5kcal/g and 9kcal/g for all other fats above 4.5kcal/g (Article 5.1)
  10. 'Of which' should be changed to 'consisting of' (Article 6.6)
  11. It should be permitted to round values to avoid giving an impression of disproportionate precision (Article 6.8)
  12. The vitamin and mineral RDAs should be updated in line with the 31st Report of the Scientific Committee for Food. (Annex)
  13. Provision should be made to use the term 'Folic acid' instead of 'folacin (Annex)
  14. There should be provisions for vitamins and minerals to be specified if 15% of the RDA is contained within a serving, rather than in 100g/ml (Annex footnote)

The Ministry letter gives some supporting data on each of the above points.

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