European Parliament Passes Second Reading On Fortified Foods Regulations

Earlier this week, the European Parliament held its second reading vote on proposed Fortified Foods Regulations, intended to put in place common EU rules on the addition of vitamins, minerals and other substances to foods. A positive list of vitamins and minerals that can be added to food is included in the proposed Regulation, as are criteria for setting minimum and maximum levels for such nutrients in food. There is a transitional period of 7 years in which vitamins and minerals not on the EU list may remain on the market, provided that they were added to foods marketed in the EU at the time the Regulation entered into force and that dossiers supporting their use are submitted to the Commission within 3 years of the Regulation entering into force. These dossiers will then be transferred to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for evaluation. The Regulation also sets out a procedure to scrutinize and, if necessary, restrict or forbid the use of substances other than vitamins and minerals whose addition to foodstuffs would lead to an excessive intake of the substance.

The European Council is expected to formally adopt the Regulation in the coming weeks, and it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities. The new rules on fortification will start to apply 6 months from this date, although for up to 3 years afterwards, products not in compliance with the Regulation will still be allowed to be marketed, provided that they were labeled or placed on the market prior its entry into force.

Minimum and maximum levels for the addition of different nutrients to food will be established through the Comitology procedure based on scientific advice from EFSA. The Commission intends to publish a discussion paper on these levels within the coming months, and within 2 years of the adoption of the Regulation, it plans to put forward proposed levels for agreement by Member States in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain.

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