Food labelling e-learning course
Changes to PARNUTS controls

Changes to PARNUTS controls

The statements ‘Gluten free’ and ‘Suitable for coeliacs’ on a cake label

New legislation will be introduced in 2016 replacing the rules on PARNUTS foods with a new Regulation on Foods for Specific Groups. The Regulation covers food for infants and young children (infant formula, follow-on formula and weaning foods), food for specific medical purposes, and total diet replacement for weight control. Under the new approach, food for other population groups will be regulated as regular foodstuffs under general food law.

The new EU Regulation will establish compositional and information requirements for these foods. Currently the Regulation lays down general requirements. In terms of labelling, there are only general requirements established for not misleading the consumer or attributing to the food the property of preventing, treating or curing a human disease.

There are additional requirements for infant formula and follow-on formula which requires the labelling, presentation and advertising to be designed so as not to discourage breastfeeding and must not include pictures or text idealising the use.

The legislation laying down the detailed rules for these food categories will apply in the UK by 20 July 2016. The additional rules to be adopted on labelling, presentation and advertising will include the authorisation of nutrition and health claims, the requirements concerning promotional and commercial practices relating to infant formula and information on appropriate infant feeding practices.

A precise date for the application of these detailed rules is not specified.

The Commission is also to consider by July 2015 the need for controls on 'growing up milks' and sports foods.

The rules on use of the statements 'gluten-free' and 'very low gluten' will be incorporated into the EU FIC. Further consideration will be given to how people that are intolerant to gluten are adequately informed of the difference between a food that is specially produced, prepared and/or processed in order to reduce the gluten content and other food that is made exclusively from ingredients naturally free of gluten.