Fortification of Food
There are a range of nutrients and ingredients which can be included in the manufacture of food, including vitamins, minerals, trace elements, fatty acids, and fibre extracts. Their addition is subject to EU regulation. Vitamins and minerals may not be added to unprocessed food, including fruit, vegetables, meat poultry and fish.
The EU regulation lists permitted vitamins and minerals and the conditions in which they can be added. They must be added in a form which is bio-available in the human body
- in order to take account of deficiencies of one or more vitamins or minerals in the population or specific groups that can be demonstrated by clinical evidence or evidence of deficiency or estimated low levels of intake of nutrients
- the potential to improve the nutritional status of the population or specific groups or correct dietary deficiencies in vitamins and minerals or
- evolving generally acceptable scientific knowledge in the role of vitamins and minerals, nutrition and consequent effects on health.
The regulations permit scrutinization and restriction of substances added to food manufacture, which could result in ingestion of amounts exceeding reasonably expected under normal conditions of consumption of a balanced and varied diet.
The regulations provide for the setting of maximum amounts of vitamins and minerals to be determined by the standing committee on the food chain and animal health.
Vitamins and minerals may be considered for inclusion following the evaluation of an appropriate scientific dossier concerning the safety and bioavailability of the individual substance by the European Food Safety Agency.
Labelling Vitamins & Minerals
The labelling requirements in relation to the labelling preparation and advertising of foodstuffs provide specific requirements in relation to vitamins and minerals. Certain statements may not be included, and labelling, presentation, and advertising of foods to which vitamins and minerals have been added must not mislead or deceive the consumer as to the nutritional merit of the food, which may result in the addition of nutrients.
Nutritional labelling of products to which vitamins and minerals have been added is compulsory. There is a European register maintained by the EU on the addition of vitamins, minerals, and certain other substances to food.
Foods may only be irradiated and treated with ionising radiation where there is a reasonable technological need and benefit to the consumer, such as the elimination or reduction of disease. It cannot substitute for good hygiene practices. The words “irradiated” or “treated with ionising radiation” must appear.
Foodstuffs may only be irradiated in approved facilities. The EU is compiling a list of products which are authorised for irradiation. National authorisations may be allowed pending the completion of an EU list.
In Ireland, the authorities are the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland and the Food Safety Authority. Irradiation facilities must be licensed by the Radiological Protection Institute. FSAI permit is also required.
Special Control of Food
The EU can suspend the placing of food in the market that may constitute a risk to human health in order to take appropriate interim measures.
There is a range of food stuffs which are subject to specific restriction. Certain foodstuffs may only be imported where the consignment is accompanied by certificates confirming sampling and analysis in accordance with models set out in the regulations.
The requirements apply to certain foodstuffs and foodstuffs derived from those foodstuffs.
This includes ranges of nuts, including peanuts, pistachios and other nuts from certain countries.
There are specific restrictions and conditions attached to the import of products in the following areas.
- Chilly products,
- certain GMOs in maize products.
- Certain GMOs in rice products.
Some Specific Rules
There are specific rules covering a range of products. Most of these are referred to in our section on European Union legislation.
There are regulations on the composition and manufacturing characteristics of caseins intended for human consumption and their labelling and marketing.
Cocoa and chocolate the standards for compensation and labelling of cocoa and chocolate products are standardized. Different categories of chocolate products are categorized.
- Coffee and chicory.
- Caffeine, quinine.
- Jam, fruit Jam, jelly, marmalade.
- Honey, fruit juices and products.
- Olive oil.
- Sport drink.
- Spreadable fat.
Some Beverage Controls
There are detailed regulations on the description, designation, presentation and protection of certain wine products. There are definitions of what constitutes wine and, in particular, table wine and the quality of wines.
There are limits on alcoholic strength. There are requirements regarding designation of origin, alcoholic concentration, and sales designation.
Particulars of the juicer, importer, lot number, and ingredients must be presented.
Foods for particular nutritional uses are subject to specific requirements. These include dietary foods for special medical purposes, infant formula, foods for persons suffering from diabetes, and foods for expenditure of intense muscular efforts for sports people.
The substances that may be added for nutritional purposes are identified in the EU legislation.
There are detailed specific provisions in relation to infant formula and follow-on formula. The rules on the composition and labelling of formula, the process, cereal-based foods and baby foods are subject to prohibitions on the use of pesticides in their production. They must not contain pesticide residues above a certain level.
Where foodstuffs are newly introduced, they must be notified to the Food Safety Authority. The proposed labelling and details for sale within the EU must be provided.