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Honey, fruit juices, jams, milk: there is agreement in Brussels on "breakfast directives"

EU Commission welcomes the agreement between the European Parliament and the Council

Mandatory origin labeling for honey, more transparency on the sugar content of fruit juices.

The European Commission "welcomes" the political agreement reached today by the European Parliament and the European Council to review and strengthen existing marketing standards applicable to honey, fruit juices, jams and milk. The so-called "breakfast directives" establish common rules on the composition, sales denominations, labeling and presentation of such products to ensure their free movement in the internal market and help consumers to make informed choices.

The revised directives agreed by the co-legislators will introduce a number of changes. Mandatory origin labeling for honey: the countries of origin in honey blends must appear on the label in decreasing order with the percentage of each origin. Member States will have the flexibility to request percentages for the four largest shares only if they represent more than 50% of the mix. The Commission is authorized by the co-legislators to introduce harmonized methods of analysis to detect adulteration of honey with sugar, a uniform methodology for tracing the origin of honey and criteria to ensure that honey is not overheated when sold to the final consumer. A platform will be established to advise the Commission on these issues. This will limit fraudulent practices and increase the transparency of the food chain.

Regarding innovation and market opportunities for fruit juices in line with new consumer needs, three new categories will be available: "reduced sugar fruit juice", "reduced sugar fruit juice from concentrate " and "concentrated reduced sugar fruit juice." In this way consumers can choose a juice containing at least 30% less sugar. It will be possible for fruit juices to indicate on their labels that "fruit juices contain only natural sugars" to clarify that, unlike fruit nectars, fruit juices cannot by definition contain added sugars, a characteristic of which most of consumers is not aware.

Higher mandatory fruit content in jams: an increase in the minimum fruit content in jams (from 350 to 450 g/kg) and extra jams (from 450 to 500 grams per kilogram) will improve the minimum quality and reduce the sugar content of these products for EU consumers. Member States will be authorized to authorize the term "jam" as a synonym for "jam", to take into account the name commonly used locally for such products. The term "jam" has so far only been authorized for citrus fruit jams.

Simplified labeling for milk: the distinction between "evaporated" and "condensed" milk will be eliminated, in line with the Codex Alimentarius standard. Lactose-free dehydrated milk will also be authorised. The co-legislators also instructed the Commission to evaluate, within the next three years, ways to inform consumers about the origin of fruits used in the production of juices and jams.

The political agreement reached by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission is now subject to formal approval by the co-legislators. From entry into force 20 days after the publication of the definitive text, Member States will have 18 months to transpose the new provisions into national law and a further 6 months before its application throughout the Union.

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EFA News - European Food Agency