The addition of vitamins, minerals and certain other substances to foods
European legislation establishes common rules concerning the addition of vitamins, minerals and certain other substances in foods. This Regulation harmonises the different rules in force in Member States in order to facilitate the free movement of foods within the European Union (EU) and to improve consumer protection. It also establishes the list of vitamins and minerals which are authorised to be added to foods. Furthermore, it lays down rules for additional labelling to provide consumers with better information on the nutrients added to foods.
The Regulation covers the vitamins, minerals and other substances which are added to foods. It applies without prejudice to the provisions relating to:
- foods for particular nutritional uses;
- novel foods and novel food ingredients;
- genetically modified foods;
- food additives and flavourings;
- oenological practices and processes.
The provisions of this Regulation relating to vitamins and to minerals do not apply to food supplements covered by Directive 2002/46/EC.
List of vitamins and mineral substances which may be added to foods
Only vitamins and/or minerals listed in Annex I, in the form detailed in Annex II, may be added to foods, subject to the rules laid down in this Regulation.
The modifications to the lists are adopted taking account of the opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, until 19 January 2014 Member States may allow in their territory the use of vitamins and minerals not listed in Annex I, or in forms not listed in Annex II, provided the following conditions are met:
- the substance in question is added to foods marketed in the European Union by 19 January 2007 at the latest;
- the European Food Safety Authority has not given an unfavourable opinion in respect of the use of that substance, or its use in that form, in the manufacture of food, on the basis of a dossier supporting use of the substance in question to be submitted to the Commission by the Member State not later than 19 January 2010.
The nutrition labelling of products which vitamins and minerals have been added to and which are covered by the Regulation is compulsory. It must contain the following information:
- the total amounts of vitamins and minerals where they are added to a food;
- the amount of protein, carbohydrate, sugars, fat, saturates, fibre and sodium (in accordance with Directive 90/496/EEC on nutritional labelling of foods);
- the energy value of the product (in accordance with the same Directive on nutritional labelling).
The labelling, presentation and advertising of foods to which vitamins and minerals have been added shall not mislead or deceive the consumer as to their nutritional merit.
Similarly, the labelling, presentation and advertising of foods to which vitamins and minerals have been added shall not include any mention stating or implying that a balanced and varied diet is not an adequate source of nutritional substances.
Maximum and minimum levels
Foods to which vitamins and minerals have been added voluntarily can make a contribution to achieving adequate intakes of these substances, consequently reducing the risk of deficiencies. However, the Regulation specifies that excessive intakes of vitamins and minerals may result in adverse health effects. For this reason, the Regulation provides for the setting of maximum quantities of vitamins and minerals added to foods. The maximum amounts take account of the upper safe levels for vitamins and minerals following a scientific risk assessment, the potential intake of vitamins and minerals from other foods and the reference intakes of vitamins and minerals recommended for the population. Furthermore, if necessary, it also takes account of the contribution of individual products to the overall diet of the population and of the nutrient profile established in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1924/2006.
The addition of a vitamin or a mineral to a food shall result in the presence in the food in at least a significant amount of that vitamin or that mineral substance, where this quantity has been defined according to the Annex to Directive 90/496/EEC on the nutritional labelling of food.
Prohibitions and restrictions
Vitamins and minerals may not be added to:
- unprocessed foodstuffs, including fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish; and
- without exception, beverages containing more than 1.2 % by volume of alcohol - and provided that no nutrition or health claim is made.
The Regulation provides for a procedure to prohibit or restrict the use of substances other than vitamins or minerals which have a nutritional or physiological effect. For some substances, these procedures are accompanied by other specific European control measures.
The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health assists the Commission.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006
OJ L 404 of 30.12.2006
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EC) No 108/2008
OJ L 39 of 13.2.2008