December 2011- On 20 June 2011, the European Commission adopted a Proposal for a Regulation on food intended for infants and young children and on food for special medical purposes. The Proposal establishes a new framework for the composition and labelling of these food categories. EPHA makes some suggestions on how to improve the current text.
In 1977, the EU Directive on Foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses was adopted. Since then, the text has been revised several times, the last time being in 2009.
The new proposal focuses on 2 main objectives:
Abolishing the concept of dietetic food and replacing it by a new framework limiting it to three categories of food products: food intended for infants, food intended for young children and food for special medical purposes,
creating a single measure regulating a list of substances that may be added to the categories of food covered by the proposal.
Although generally happy with the Commission Proposal, EPHA would like to express some concerns regarding issues that could represent potential public health threats. In its position, the European Public Health Alliance emphasised a number of issues of particular interest:
Early intervention - The foundations of a healthy life are built during infancy. Therefore, EPHA supports the Commission Proposal to target the particularities of foods for infants and young children in a new Proposal whose overall objective must be the protection of the health of babies and infants.
The importance of a healthy and balanced diet - While part of the population has specific food-related needs, because of intolerances, allergies or specific requirements due to specific conditions, the overall population would benefit better from a healthy and balanced diet.
Marketing and promotion of food for infants and young children - It is crucial that consumers are provided with clear and reliable information which does not mislead them. The overall objective of the legislation must be the protection of the health of infants and young children.
Medicalisation of the society - EPHA strongly supports the European Commission Proposal to only target the three categories of food intended for infants, young children and food for special medical purposes.
Confidentiality, transparency, governance management - Need for a systematic review of all the available scientific evidence
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