PURPOSE: to amend Council Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption.
LEGISLATIVE ACT: Directive 2012/12/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption.
CONTENT: the Council approved a compromise text aimed at further aligning the EU directive on fruit juices and similar products to the international food standards of the Codex Alimentarius, following a first-reading agreement with the European Parliament. The German delegation voted against.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1963 by FAO and WHO to develop food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice. The main purposes are to protect health of the consumers, to ensure fair trade practices in the food trade and to promote coordination of work undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The main elements of the amended Directive are as follows:
Not adding sugars to fruit juices: the new directive incorporates the current industry practice of not adding sugars to fruit juices. As from the date of application of the new rules (28 October 2013), the addition of sugars to fruit juices will not longer be authorised.
Since the addition of sugars was previously allowed, it was common that food business operators labelled the absence of added sugars in the fruit juices for commercial reasons by means of nutrition claim "with no added sugars". The use of such a claim will be no longer allowed after the end of the transitional period (18 months after the date of application of new rules), when all fruit juices present on the market are not allowed to contain added sugars any more.
To enable the industry to inform the consumers properly both during the transitional period and another 18 months after its end, the directive authorises the food business operators to use a statement on the labels informing the consumers that from a certain date no fruit juices contain added sugars.
The statement from 28 October 2015 no fruit juices contain added sugars may appear on the label in the same field of vision as the name of products until 28 October 2016.
Nectars: due to their specific characteristics nectars cannot be produced without added sugar. However, the new directive confirms the rule of the regulation on nutrition and health claims according to which nectars containing sugars or sweeteners may not bear on the label the nutrition claim "with no added sugar".
The directive adds tomatoes to the list of fruits used for fruit juice's production. This means that tomato juices will be subject to the same specific rules as other fruit juices, rather than solely to the general EU food law as it is currently the case.
The new rules also confirm the existing law according to which each fruit from which the fruit juice is made from must be indicated in the product name. However, if the juice is produced from three and more fruits the indication of the fruits may be replaced by the words "several fruits".
The Brix values (designing the soluble dry matter content) for four fruit juices (blackcurrent, guava, mango and passion fruit) are aligned with the levels of the Codex Alimentarius.
Transitional measures: products which are placed on the market or labelled before 28 October 2013 in accordance with Directive 2001/112/EC may continue to be marketed until 28 April 2015.
The new rules will apply to all fruit juices marketed in the EU, irrespective of their origin. This ensures an equal treatment between fruit juices produced within the EU and imported from third countries.
ENTRY INTO FORCE: 27.04.2012.
TRANSPOSITION: before 28.10.2013. Member States shall apply those provisions from 28 October 2013.
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