Environment Committee confirms deal on new rules for baby milks and diet food
Rules on the labelling and contents of baby milks and food for people with special dietary needs will be better defined to protect consumers and give clarity to the food industry, under a draft law approved by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. The text approved by the committee confirms an informal deal struck with the Council.
The changes were proposed due to problems faced by both consumers and authorities in distinguishing between foods for normal consumption and those intended for specific groups. One of the proposals is that the labelling of all milk formulae for babies up to 12 months old (including "follow-on" formulae) should not include pictures of babies or images that "idealise the use" of the product. In response to the growing use of slimming claims on food product labels, the new rules will also cover energy-restricted diets designed to replace a person's daily food intake or strict diets for obese people (less than 800 calories or 800-1,200 calories per day respectively). The deal now needs to be formally approved by Parliament and the Council. Parliament will put it to a plenary vote in the spring, and the rules will take effect three years thereafter (News article European Parliament, 18 December 2012).