The legislation for the specific PARNUTS foods lays down requirements concerning composition, mandatory labelling, appearance, advertising and packaging.
For the general labelling requirements for infant formula and follow-on formula, the labelling must be designed to provide the necessary information about the appropriate use of the product so as not to discourage breast-feeding. It must not contain the terms 'humanised', 'maternalised', 'adapted' or any similar term. Infant formula and follow-on formula must be labelled in such a way for consumers to clearly make a distinction between the products.
Before placing an infant formula on the market, food business operators must notify the Department of Health and provide a copy of the product label.
For foods formulated for use in energy-restricted diets for weight reduction, they must be labelled as 'total dietary replacement for weight control' or 'meal replacement for weight control'. It is prohibited to label, advertise or present these products in a manner which refers to the rate or amount of weight loss which may result from their use.
Foods for special medical purposes (medical foods) are specially processed or formulated to meet the dietary needs of patients, whose needs cannot be achieved by modification of the normal diet (including food supplements and fortified foods), or other food for particular nutritional uses. Like other PARNUTS foods, these foods must not state or imply they are to prevent, treat or cure disease.
In addition to the mandatory labelling requirements of the EU FIC, other specific information must be provided:
- They must be used under medical supervision.
- Whether they are suitable for use as the sole source of nourishment.
- Suitability for certain age groups.
- That they pose a health hazard when consumed by consumers who do not have the diseases, disorders or medical conditions the product is intended for.
- The statement "For the dietary management of 'X'", where 'X' is the specific disease, disorder or condition for which the product is intended.
Before placing a medical food on the market, food business operators must notify the Department of Health and provide a copy of the product label.
PARNUTS foods that are specially produced, prepared and/or processed to meet the special dietary needs of people intolerant to gluten are subject to specific rules for labelling as 'gluten-free' (must not exceed 20 mg/kg of gluten) or 'very low gluten' (must not exceed 100 mg/kg of gluten). It is prohibited to label infant formula and follow-on formula with these claims as the legislation prohibits the use of ingredients containing gluten in their manufacture.