Food Standards Agency
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Views sought on proposal to revise PARNUT foods legislation

The European Commission is reviewing the current Framework Directive (Directive 2009/39/EC) on foods intended for particular nutritional uses (also known as ‘PARNUT’ or dietetic foods). The proposal includes changes to claims about gluten. The UK governments have launched consultations to seek views on the proposal to inform forthcoming negotiations within Europe.

About PARNUT foods

PARNUT foods are those which have been specially manufactured to satisfy the particular nutritional requirements of specific groups of the population and currently include:

  • infant and follow-on formulas
  • foods for infants and young children up to three years of age
  • medical foods
  • foods for people intolerant to gluten ('gluten-free' and 'very low gluten')
  • slimming foods
  • other foods which companies currently provide notification to EU member states (for example, lactose-free foods)

Proposed changes

The proposal is to drop the concept of dietetic foods. The proposed regulation is likely to have a significant impact on the way in which the above foods are regulated, notified and labelled. The key points on the proposal include:

  • To limit the new regulation to these three categories only:
    • infant and follow-on formula
    • foods intended for infants and young children aged up to three years
    • medical foods
  • To repeal Commission Regulation (EC) No 41/2009 on foods for people intolerant to gluten (which is due to come into force on the 1 January 2012). Claims about gluten (‘gluten-free’ and ‘very low gluten’) will be moved into the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006).
  • To provide for a consolidated list of substances such as vitamins, minerals and other substances and the appropriate levels at which they may be added to the foods covered by the proposal.
  • To introduce a centralised notification and authorisation system for PARNUT foods via the European Commission who will be advised by EFSA.
  • Coordinate and align rules for specific foods such as slimming foods and other PARNUT foods with other existing food legislation.

The FSA in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health in England and the Welsh Government are undertaking an eight-week public consultation on the proposal and welcome views on all aspects of the proposal.

The consultations, Commission proposal and impact assessment, as well as more information about the labelling of ‘gluten-free’ foods, can be found via the links below.

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