EU Commission report on food intended for sportspeople

The report, published on 15th June 2016, is intended to meet the obligation set for the Commission by Article 13 of Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on food intended for infants and young children, food for special medical purposes, and total diet replacement for weight control (hereinafter ‘FSG Regulation’). According to this Article, the Commission is required to present to the European Parliament and to the Council, after consulting the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), a report on the necessity, if any, of provisions for food intended for sportspeople (hereinafter ‘sports food’).

The request for this report is linked to the repeal by the FSG Regulation of the framework on foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses, as of 20 July 2016. This framework was established by a Council Directive in 1989 and completed by the recast Directive 2009/39/EC.

Sports food can currently be classified either (1) as ‘foodstuff intended for particular nutritional uses’ under Directive 2009/39/EC or (2) as food for normal consumption governed by relevant horizontal rules of food law. The FSG Regulation does not include sports food within its scope, since it focuses on foods for certain vulnerable groups of consumers.

Thus, since a categorisation as foodstuff intended for particular nutritional uses will no longer be available to sports food, this type of food will be exclusively governed by horizontal rules of food law as from 20 July 2016.

This report reflects on potential consequences of the change of status for sports food.

It builds upon a market study carried out by the Food Chain Evaluation Consortium (FCEC Study) between January 2015 and June 2015. In the context of the preparation of this report, a consultation was carried out with national competent authorities and other interested parties.

The European Commission consulted the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which provided scientific and technical assistance regarding sports food. EFSA compiled existing scientific advice in the area of nutrition and health claims and Dietary References Values for adults that are relevant to sportspeople and informed the Commission that its subsequent advice does not differ from the recommendations of the Report of the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) adopted in 2001 on composition and specification of food intended to meet the expenditure of intense muscular effort, especially for sportsmen.

Here below, the conclusions:

“There are clear indications that sport has become mainstream in the general population. Consequently, people carrying out sports activity can hardly be characterised as a specific vulnerable group of consumers but rather as a target group of the general population who is protected at an appropriate level by horizontal legislation.

In view of the growing completion of the horizontal rules of food law which took place in the last years, an appropriate legislative framework is in place to ensure that sports food classified nowadays as food intended for particular nutritional uses can remain on the market and can operate. The horizontal rules of food law provide the necessary safeguards for these products in terms of food safety, food composition, consumer information and legal certainty. As a result, not only all sports food products will be subject to the same legal requirements but they will have the same level of harmonisation as other foods falling under the horizontal rules of food law. It is expected that, through the simplification and clarification of the legal framework applicable for sports food, legal certainty will be enhanced and the current fragmentation based on the different legal frameworks reduced.

From this analysis, it can be concluded that there is no necessity for specific provisions for food intended for sportspeople. Nevertheless, sports food may include some element of specificity and the analysis in this report shows that this may have to be taken into account by the Commission in the application and implementation of the horizontal rules, so that such specificities can be adequately addressed. The Commission will ensure proper application of horizontal legislation and monitor the developments after 20 July 2016.”

(Source: DG Sante website)

Q&A to EU Commission – EU initiatives to tackle food fraud and AAC use

The Administrative Assistance and Cooperation (AAC), originally foreseen by Reg. (EC) No 882/2004, was established under Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/1918 of 22 October 2015, as dedicated IT tool to facilitate the exchange of administrative information between national authorities and the Food Fraud Network (FFN), working to combat cross-border violations of food law in Europe.

Waiting for the final review of Reg. (EC) No 882/2004 and for stronger instruments and sanctions to dissuade fraudsters, the Commission was asked to explain to what extend the AAC system is used. The number of cases is limited, as well as users (not yet liaison bodies outside the FFN): the trust in the system seems limited at the moment, possibly because of the high level of secrecy of the information related to this kind of cross-border investigations.

Subject:  EU initiatives to tackle food fraud

On 18 November 2015, the Administrative Assistance and Cooperation (AAC) system was launched to facilitate cooperation between the Member States in combating cross-border fraudulent practices in the food and feed chain.

Could the Commission indicate how this system has functioned in practice, thus far, to allow for greater cooperation between national authorities?

Could the Commission also give a time frame for the ‘later stage’ when the AAC system will be made available to liaison bodies outside the Food Fraud Network?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 3rd May 2016

The Administrative Assistance and Cooperation (AAC) system provides a platform for cross-border administrative cooperation between national authorities to swiftly exchange information allowing to confirm or exclude the existence of deceptive and fraudulent activities in the food and feed sector and to pursue them across borders. Since it was launched in November 2015, the system was used 54 times for such exchanges of information between Member States.

The Commission is planning on making the system available also to the liaison bodies working on cases of Administrative Assistance and Cooperation not related to fraudulent practices by 2017.

(Source: EU Parliament)