European Law Monitor

Make your voice heard!

newsBreakfast directives: Council and Parliament strike deal to improve consumer information for honey, fruit jams and fruit juices

Today the Belgian presidency of the Council and representatives of the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement to improve consumer information requirements for honey, fruit jams, fruit juices and dehydrated milk.

The deal concerns four of the so-called 'breakfast directives' and, once formally adopted, will update the rules concerning the composition, labelling, and naming of certain foodstuffs.

The updated directives aim to promote a shift to healthier diets, help consumers make informed choices, and ensure transparency regarding the origin of products.

Marketing standards ensure that the food we consume is of high quality. The deal we have reached today on these revised standards will empower consumers to make well informed choices regarding the food they consume and will help combat food fraud.

David Clarinval, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Self-Employed, SMEs and Agriculture, Institutional Reforms and Democratic Renewal

Main elements of the provisional agreement

Honey

The provisionally agreed text maintains the proposal's ambition and goals and contains the following elements concerning honey:

  • the countries of origin will be indicated on the label in descending order, based on weight; the label will also include the percentage that each country represents in the blend, thereby increasing transparency for consumers
  • member states can decide that the obligation to indicate the percentage on the label only applies to the four largest shares, provided these represent more than 50% of the weight of the blend
  • to ensure flexibility, in the case of packages of less than 30 grams, the names of the countries of origin may be replaced by a two-letter ISO code
  • platform of experts will support the Commission with developing methods to detect honey adulteration and enhancing controls; this would help combat honey fraud 

Fruit juices

To reflect the growing demand for reduced-sugar products, the provisionally agreed text also foresees the addition of three new categories: ‘reduced-sugar fruit juice‘, ‘reduced-sugar fruit juice from concentrate‘ and ‘concentrated reduced-sugar fruit juice‘.

Additionally, operators will be allowed to use the label 'fruit juices contain only naturally occurring sugars'. This will ensure that consumers are better informed about the products they consume.

Fruit jams

The Council and the Parliament have agreed to increase the minimum fruit content in jams and extra jams (100 g more per kg for jams, and 50 g more per kg for extra jams), while ensuring a significant distinction between the two categories:

- 450 g as a general rule for jam

- 500 g as a general rule for extra jam

This increase in fruit content will help reduce the amount of sugar in jams, making it possible for consumers to make healthier choices.

Milk

In the case of dehydrated milk, the two co-legislators agreed to allow the use of treatments that produce lactose-free dehydrated milk products. 

Next steps

Following today's provisional agreement, work will continue at a technical level in the coming weeks to flesh out the details of the revised directives.

The provisional agreement will then be submitted to member states' representatives in the Special Committee on Agriculture for endorsement.

It will then have to undergo a legal/linguistic review before being formally adopted by the co-legislators and entering into force.

Background

The revision of EU marketing standards for certain 'breakfast directives' was proposed by the Commission on 21 April 2023 to ensure marketing standards are up-to-date and reflect shifts in consumer demand.

 Copyright European Union