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European Union passes Regulation on the Labelling of Nanomaterials in Food

In July 2011 the European Parliament adopted its Second Reading Position on the proposed legislation on the provision of Food Information to Consumers. The new law combines two Directives into one piece of legislation:

  • 2000/13/EC on labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs
  • 90/496/EEC on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs

The new law contains a definition of the term 'nanomaterials' and mandates the labelling of all ingredients falling under this definition:

'Whereas:

(25)  In order to inform consumers of the presence of engineered nanomaterials in food, it is appropriate to provide for a definition of engineered nanomaterials. Taking into account the possibility of food containing or consisting of engineered nanomaterials being a novel food, the appropriate legislative framework for this definition should be considered in the context of the upcoming review of Regulation (EC) No 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 1997 concerning novel foods and novel foods ingredients...

 

Article 2: Definitions

2.  The following definitions shall also apply:

...(t) 'engineered nanomaterial' means any intentionally produced material that has one or more dimensions of the order of 100 nm or less or that is composed of discrete functional parts, either internally or at the surface, many of which have one or more dimensions of the order of 100 nm or less, including structures, agglomerates or aggregates, which may have a size above the order of 100 nm but retain properties that are characteristic of the nanoscale.

(i) those related to the large specific surface area of the materials considered; and/or  

(ii) specific physico-chemical properties that are different from those of the non-nanoform of the same material

 

Article 18: List of ingredients

...3.  All ingredients present in the form of engineered nanomaterials shall be clearly indicated in the list of ingredients. The names of such ingredients shall be followed by the word 'nano' in brackets. 

...5.  For the purposes of achieving the objectives of this Regulation, the Commission shall, by means of delegated acts in accordance with Article 51, adjust and adapt the definition of engineered nanomaterials referred to in point (t) of Article 2(2) to the technical and scientific progress or to definitions agreed at international level'

Following the agreement by the European Parliament and the European Council as well as the European Commission's adoption of its Opinion, the new regulation will be formally adopted in autumn 2011 and will apply three years later.

 

Follow these links to find out more about the new EU law on food information to consumers, to read the European Parliament's Second Reading Position, or to download the European Commission's Opinion on the European Parliament's position on the Council's common position.

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