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New directive on fruit juice in EU

The new European rule reflects the requires in recognised international standards, including the Codex General Standard for fruit juices and nectars

The Directive has been drafted to reflect the technical progress made in relation to fruit juices; and the reflect the requires in recognised international standards, including the Codex General Standard for fruit juices and nectars (Codex Stan 247-2005). This standard establishes, in particular, quality factors and labelling requirements for fruit juices and similar products; and is utilised throughout the rest of the world as a point of reference to ensure the composition of fruit juices and nectars are comparable.

The new rules focus on authorised ingredients, including the prohibition of the addition of sugars to fruit juices, fruit juices from concentrate, concentrated fruit juices and dehydrated fruit juice powder. Previous requirements allowed the addition of sugars to fruit juices, which gave rise to the presence of “no added sugar” claims on fruit juice labelling, bringing the consumer’s attention to a specific unique selling point. However as the new regulations effectively ban the addition of sugars, the Commission noted that this would not be obviously apparent to the consumer but that the continued use of the term “no added sugar” would be misleading as sugar would be permitted. In order to allow the industry to make consumers aware of the lack of presence of sugars the Commission agreed that fruit juice labelling could bear the statement “from 28 October 2015 no fruit juices contain added sugars’ in the same field of vision as the name of the juice, until 28 October 2016. As the requirements of the removal of sugars do not come into effect until 28th October 2013 for new products and 28th April for 2015 for products already on the market before October 2013, this statement allows the industry to continue to communicate the lack of sugars in the juice without being misleading to the consumer until a time whereby the average consumer would not expect sugars to be present in a juice.

From an industry point of view this will impact those juices which contain sugars. It is less likely to affect premium juices, however this may be an issue for those juice products used as ingredients within composite foods and as such we would recommend a review of product specifications to establish whether food business have any actions to undertake

by S. C.
02 july 2012, World News > Europe