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Fine Bakery Item Exports To EU May Become More Difficult

India has witnessed a substantial fall in many agri-food exports to EU. To make the matter worse, EU keeps a strict nutrition provision in various food items. This time use of Sweeteners has been ruled out in fine bakery products for special nutritional uses.

European Union (EU) is one of the preferred destinations for India’s bakery products. It has witnessed a considerable fall of -26.7 per cent in last two years. This time things may get more difficult for India as EU Commission Regulation 2018/97, bans the use of artificial sweeteners in fine bakery products aimed at people with special dietary needs. According to the EU’s ‘Food Additive regulation 1333/2008,’ it did not permit the use of sweeteners in fine bakery wares with the exception of sweeteners in “fine bakery products for special nutritional uses.”

Changes in EU-India food trade

Following the 2013 revision of the EU’s rules on food for particular nutritional uses, the European Commission concluded that the authorization of artificial sweeteners in “fine bakery products for special nutritional uses” is no longer justified and that those products may no longer be marketed. As a result of the EU’s new rules on dietetic foods, applicable since July 2016, a whole range of products carrying dietetic suitability statements needed to be re-labelled or reformulated.

The Legal Framework:

The EU’s Food for Specific Groups (FSG) regulation 609/2013 had been adopted in 2013. It had become applicable in July 2016. This regulation abolished the concept of “dietetic food” by repealing ‘Directive 2009/39’, this directive set out general rules for “food for particular nutritional uses.” In addition, Regulation 2018/97 removes dietetic fine bakery wares from the additives regulation. The scope of the FSG regulation 609/2013 is limited to infant and follow-on formula, processed cereal-based and other baby food, food for special medical purposes and total diet replacement for weight control.  Products no longer falling within the scope of this regulation, such as dietetic fine bakery products, are regarded as regular food and must comply with existing EU legislation on labelling and nutrition and health claims.

The Affected Products:

A Commission report on foods for diabetics, which had been published in 2008, concluded that there are no scientific grounds for developing specific compositional requirements for this category of foods ‘because diabetics can choose a healthy diet from normal foods’. This means that the food for diabetics is excluded from the scope of the FSG regulation 609/2013. As a result removing the category “fine bakery goods for special nutritional uses” from the additives regulation, the use of the aforementioned artificial sweeteners is no longer allowed in any “fine bakery products” including low-calorie and reduced-sugar bakery products. Bakery products with “energy-reduced” or “with no added sugars” claims, must comply with the criteria set out in the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims regulation 1924/2006.

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