In the latest draft of its proposal on fortified foods, the European Commission (EC) has omitted nutrient profiling as a means to regulate the addition of vitamins and minerals to foods. It had previously questioned the merit of fortifying ?bad foods? such as those high in fat, sugar and salt.
Although the move was welcomed by the food industry, an EC spokesperson said the omission did not mean the EC was necessarily in favour of fortifying foods that failed to meet its healthy criteria. ?The change has occurred because this area is covered in our health claims proposal,? she said. ?Under that proposal, companies can make a health claim only if its product is not too high in sugar, fat or salt.?
The Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU (CIAA) welcomed the fortified foods proposal. ?The forthcoming regulation on the addition of vitamins and minerals to foods should encourage research and innovation efforts in the food and drink industry to enable it to better respond to evolving lifestyles and allow all Europeans to benefit from this,? declared its president, Jean Martin.
The fortified foods proposal uses the risk assessment procedure employed in the Food Supplements Directive in regard to setting upper safe levels of vitamins and minerals permitted in all foods except fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat and alcoholic drinks.
The proposal may be extended to include other nutrients such as herbal extracts, amino acids and proteins. Any nutrients with an unproven safety record will be placed on a register and granted four years to produce necessary supportive data.
The UK?s Food Standards Agency and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland are requesting comments on the proposal until at least the end of January.
It will gain its first reading by the European parliament next spring.