Will the EU have transparency and better-for-me options for breakfast?

Last week, the Commission released a proposal for a Directive amending the so-called “Breakfast Directives” and submitted it to public consultation. The texts under review are Directive 2001/110 relating to honey, Directive 2001/112 relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption, Directive 2001/113 relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption and Directive 2001/114 relating to certain partly or wholly dehydrated preserved milk for human consumption.

The latest amendments to this set of directives have been made over ten years ago; the market has undergone significant change since then, driven by innovation, evolving societal concerns and consumer demand. Stakeholders’ needs, requirements and concerns have evolved, in particular in respect of sustainability or health considerations.

Based on the consideration that outdated rules may hamper innovation or fail to meet consumer expectations, the Commission concluded that the Breakfast Directives should be revised. The proposed recast would notably align the directives with the fundamental objectives of the Farm to Fork strategy, to enable a shift towards healthier diets and better information of consumers to enable them to make informed and sustainable food choices.

The main proposed amendments are as follows:

  • Ensuring that full information on the origin of honey is available to consumers. Directive 2001/110 provides for the possibility of not indicating the country or countries of origin where the honey comes from more than one country, and replacing this list with 'blend of EU honeys', 'blend of non-EU honeys', 'blend of EU and non-EU honeys'. The proposal requires the indication of all individual countries of origin (Member States and third countries);
  • The creation of a new product category under the Fruit Juices Directive: 'reduced-sugar fruit juice', in which the naturally occurring sugars have been reduced to the same level as provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods (ie., 30%). The final products must still comply with all the other essential physical, chemical, organoleptic and nutritional characteristics laid down in the Fruit Juices Directive;
  • Increase the minimum fruit content for products sold as "jam" and "jelly", which correlatively reduces the amount of added sugar needed to reach the minimum content of soluble dry matter in these products;
  • Inclusion of a new authorised treatment to partly or wholly dehydrate preserved milk to produce lactose-free dairy products to meet changing consumer needs;

The proposed directive is available here and a feedback period is open until June 16th. Comments can be submitted through this page.

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