The European Parliament and Council agreed to review and strengthen the existing marketing standards applicable to honey, fruit juices, jams and milk. The so-called Breakfast Directives lay down common rules on the composition, sales names, labelling and presentation of these products to ensure their free movement within the internal market and help consumers make informed choices.
The revised Directives agreed upon by the co-legislators will introduce the following changes:
- Mandatory origin labelling for honey: the countries of origin in honey blends will have to appear on the label in descending order with the percentage share of each origin. Member States will have the flexibility to require percentages for the four largest shares only when they account for more than 50% of the blend. The Commission is empowered by the co-legislators to introduce harmonised methods of analysis to detect honey adulteration with sugar, a uniform methodology to trace the origin of honey and criteria to ascertain that honey is not overheated when sold to the final consumer. A Platform will be set up to advise the Commission on those matters. This will limit fraudulent practices and increase the transparency of the food chain.
- Innovation and market opportunities for fruit juices in line with new consumers demands: Three new categories will become available: ‘reduced-sugar fruit juice‘, ‘reduced-sugar fruit juice from concentrate‘ and ‘concentrated reduced-sugar fruit juice‘. This way consumers can choose a juice with at least 30% less sugars. It will be possible for fruit juices to indicate on their labels that “fruit juices contain only naturally occurring sugars” to clarify that, contrary to fruit nectars, fruit juices cannot by definition contain added sugars – a feature that most of the consumers are not aware of.
- Higher mandatory fruit content in jams: an increase of the minimum fruit content in jams (from 350 to 450 grams per kilo) and in extra-jams (from 450 to 500 grams per kilo) will improve the minimum quality and reduce the sugar content of these products for EU consumers. Member States will be allowed to authorise the term ‘marmalade' as a synonym of ‘jam', to take into account of the name commonly used locally for these products. The term “marmalade” was authorised until now only for citrus jams.
- Simplified labelling for milk: the distinction between ‘evaporated' and ‘condensed' milk will be removed, in line with the Codex Alimentarius standard. Lactose-free dehydrated milk will also be authorised.
The political agreement reached by the European Parliament, Council and Commission is now subject to formal approval by the co-legislators. From entry into force 20 days after publication of the final text, Member States will have 18 months to transpose the new provisions into national law and 6 more months before it applies throughout the European Union.
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