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)

Written Q&A to EU Commission – Seaweed as food

That is an intriguing topic and to be honest I don’t know much about it. If any readers could give more details I’d be very happy to read. But I know lovely recipes of the Japanese cuisine tradition: I can’t eat my sushi without a side of spicy wakame salad!

Question for written answer E-001838/13
to the Commission
Hans-Peter Martin (NI)
(20 February 2013)

Subject: Use of seaweeds as food

Scientists see edible seaweeds, in particular wracks, as a potential environmentally friendly and cost-effective option
for producing nutritious food. According to media reports, the cultivation of brown seaweeds in particular is
increasing in the EU.

1. Does the Commission have any data on how many tonnes of seaweed are (a) produced in the EU, or (b) imported into the EU each year for use as food or food supplements?
2. Is there currently any regulation at EU level of (a) the cultivation, (b) the import, and (c) the sale of seaweeds or seaweed products as food?
3. In what way, if any, does the Commission support research and development in the area of the cultivation or processing of seaweed?
4. In what way, if any, does the Commission promote the cultivation or marketing of seaweed as food?
5. In what way, if any, does the Commission promote campaigns to inform citizens of the use of seaweed as food or to promote its consumption?

Answer given by Ms Damanaki on behalf of the Commission
(16 May 2013)

Statistics are available for imports and exports of seaweed and other algae (1) but this does not allow to distinguish those seaweeds used for food (2).

The Commission is aware of traditional collection along the coastline and the more recent interest in seaweed aquaculture. In 2011, total imports amounted to 73.4 million tonnes with a value of EUR 60.7 million and exports were valued at EUR 15.6 million. The biggest imports come from Iceland, but the highest value imports come from Philippines, China, Chile and Japan. The main exporters were UK and Germany.

Seaweed production is covered by the EU organic legislation (3) and the Commission has proposed to the Codex Alimentarius to include them in Codex Guideline for organically produced foods (4). The ERDF (5) is funding the creation of a European network of seaweed (6) stakeholders to produce a best practice model of sustainable commercial utilization of seaweed in Europe.

Research on algae is well covered under the 7th Research Framework Programme in particular research and innovation on micro and macro algae biorefineries as promising sources of high added-value products (7). One large topic of the last call of FP7 — Theme 2 Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Aquaculture addresses particularly this subject with a total EU contribution of EU 20 million (evaluation ongoing).

The reform of the common fisheries policy includes the promotion of aquaculture through strategic guidelines, multiannual national plans and common objectives.

The Commission does not carry out European-wide communication and promotion campaigns on seaweed as food. However, Member States may support promotion activities under the European Fisheries Fund (8) and the development of sustainable aquaculture including edible seaweeds.

* * * * *

⋅1∙ Under CN code 1212 20 00.
⋅2∙ Novel foods or novel food ingredients from species of algae that were not on the market (before 15 May 1997, entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 258/97) require a safety assessment and eventually authorisation under the regulation before they may be placed on the market.
⋅3∙ Council Regulation 834/2007 and Commission Regulation 888/2008.
⋅4∙ GL 32 1999.
⋅5∙ European Regional Development Fund.
⋅7∙ Feed proteins, polymers, pharmaceuticals, high value oils and chemicals, bioactive compounds, colorants and biofuels.
⋅8∙ Council Regulation (EC) No1198/2006 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007.