(Brussels 31 January 2012) FoodDrinkEurope strongly regrets the negative outcome of the vote today in the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee for the revised nutrition claims list recently adopted by the Council.
Food operators strongly support the use of nutrition claims ‘on pack’ to ensure that consumers are informed of a specific nutritional benefit or a nutritional improvement that has been made to a recipe (often via voluntary reformulation efforts). The outcome of today’s vote, if confirmed in the EP plenary vote on 2 February, would mean consumers would not be informed of the benefits of incremental nutritional changes/improvements to products and food operators would have less possibility to communicate their reformulation efforts, presenting disincentives to invest in costly R&D and innovation techniques for the European market.
The proposal introduces two new nutrition claims into the Annex of EC Regulation 1924/2006 – namely, the ‘Now contains X% less’ claim(1) and the ‘No added salt(/sodium)’ claim. At present, the ‘Reduced in X’ claim permits food manufacturers to communicate about reductions in a nutrient compared with a range of foods in the same category over a period of time. The introduction of a ‘Now contains X% less’ claim would offer new possibilities to food manufacturers to communicate incremental nutritional changes made to their products to the consumer by comparing old and new recipes. Technological constraints to rolling out these smaller, step-wise reformulations are important to consider in this lengthy and costly process, not to mention the importance of gradually familiarising consumers to the new ‘improved’ taste.
FoodDrinkEurope calls on Members of the European Parliament to vote against the objection to the revised Nutrition Claims list when voting in the Plenary on 2nd February.
(1) The vast majority of FoodDrinkEurope members support this claim (with the exception of CEFS – Le Comité Européen des Fabricants de Sucre).