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    EU Parliament Supports Changes to Breakfast Directive to Enhance Transparency and Consumer Choices

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    Strasbourg, December 15, 2023 — The European Parliament in Strasbourg has endorsed amendments to the so-called “breakfast directives,” aiming to assist consumers in making informed and healthier choices regarding agri-food products like honey, fruit juices, jams, jellies, and marmalades. The proposed changes focus on better protection against honey adulteration and detailed sugar content information on fruit juice and jam labels.

    Country of Origin Transparency

    Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) advocate for mandatory country-of-origin labeling on honey, emphasizing the need to specify the country where the honey was harvested. Similar requirements apply to fruit juices, jams, jellies, marmalades, and sweetened chestnut purees, where the origin of the fruits used must be clearly indicated on the front label. In cases where honey or fruits are sourced from multiple countries, MEPs propose listing the countries in descending order based on their contribution to the final product.

    To combat fraud, MEPs propose establishing a honey supply chain control system to trace product origins. Additionally, they recommend the creation of a European Union reference laboratory for honey, enhancing inspections and detecting counterfeits through systematic testing.

    Low Sugar Products and Labeling Integrity

    In response to the growing demand for low-sugar products, MEPs suggest labeling fruit juices as “contains only naturally occurring sugars.” Modified formulas for fruit juices may be labeled as “reduced-sugar fruit juice.” Importantly, any process that removes natural sugars should not lead to the use of sweeteners to compensate for taste, texture, or product quality, according to MEPs. Labels on reduced-sugar food products are not allowed to make claims about positive properties or health benefits.

    MEPs believe that more precise country-of-origin information will offer greater transparency, enabling consumers to make healthier and more regional choices. Alexander Bernhuber, rapporteur for the European People’s Party (Austria), stressed that clearer labeling will prevent deceptive practices, especially in the case of honey, and empower consumers and beekeepers.

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