March 25, 2010
Regulatory outlook: EU food labelling update
In this article, we outline the most relevant changes within the upcoming EU food legislation, and how this will impact the chewing gum category.
The popularity of health-promoting food scan be seen in supermarkets, with the wide variety of choices available, each promoting their own health claims.
A few years ago, the Finnish Food Safety Authority, Evira, identified a total of 620 health claims on foodstuffs. Throughout the entire European Union region, this figure rose to as many as 44,000. (Source: Helsingin Sanomat)
In terms of the chewing gum category, the range of claims are more narrow. The most common claims are illustrated below:
Number of claims relating to new chewing gum products in Europe – 2009 to March 2010 (GNPD)
“Sugarfree” tops the list with 354 products, followed by “Fresh breath”, “Dental care” (such as reduce plaque/dental decay, strengthen teeth, etc.). “Free of gluten/allergens” and “vitamins/minerals” are in the bottom of the list, with 20 and 17 product claims respectively.
Labelling, Health Claims
EU Regulation 1924/2006 of 20 December 2006 regarding nutrition and health claims made on foods. This regulation covers all food products, including enriched foods and food supplements.
Whereas a positive list for nutrition claims already exists in the regulation, this is not the case for health claims. It is not known when the positive list of health claims will come - probably in 2010. Hereafter, a transition period of 6 months is expected before products, which bear health claims not mentioned in the positive list, will have to be taken off the market.
Health claims are divided into article 13 claims and article 14 health claims:
Article 13 claims are claims other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and children’s development and health. Article 13.1 (a) claims may be used until the positive list comes into force. Article 13.1 (b) claims and article 13.1 (c) claims must not be used before the positive list comes into force, unless they have been sent in for evaluation.
Article 14 claims are: 14.1 (a) regarding reduction of disease risk and 14.1 (b) regarding children’s development and health. Article 14.1 (a) claims are not to be used before the EU-positive list with article 14 claims is published and has come into force. Article 14.1 (b) claims must not be used before the positive list comes into force, unless they have been sent in for evaluation.
EU Regulation 1333/2008 of 16 December 2008 regarding food additives. From 20 July 2010, foods with the following colours must bear the following warning: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children”
Sunset yellow (E 110), Quinoline yellow (E 104), Carmoisine (E 122), Allura red (E 129), Tartrazine (E 102) and Ponceau 4R (E 124).
Foods put on the market before 20 July 2010 can be sold until lasts until/use by date.
Labelling, “Natural flavour”
EU regulation 1334/2008 of 16 December 2008 regarding flavourings and certain food ingredients with flavouring properties for use in and on foods. From 20 January 2011, the claim “no artificial flavouring” can no longer be used. If the claim “natural”, in connection with flavours, is used, please be aware that new rules apply from 20 January 2011.
Labelling products with vitamins and minerals
EU Directive 2008/100 of 28 October 2008, amending EU directive 90/496 on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs relating to recommended daily allowances, energy conversion factors and definitions. New RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) values are now implemented in all EU countries, and are used as reference in the labelling of content of vitamins and minerals.
Products labelled according to old RDA values may be sold until 30 October 2012.
It’s important to stipulate that a few of the most common claims within chewing gum will not be affected by the new EU legislation, since they are regulated under national law.