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Brussels, 13 April 2004

Children risk choking: new EU measures to withdraw jelly mini-cups

The European Commission today adopted measures to suspend the marketing in the EU of jelly mini-cups containing certain food additives derived from seaweed and/or certain gums. The jelly mini-cups are considered a choking risk because of their consistency, shape and form. The action has been approved by the Member States in the Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health.

"Safety labelling on these products is not enough to protect children's health", said David Byrne, Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner. "Removing these products from shop shelves will provide the extra protection needed in all EU countries while we, together with the European Food Safety Authority, evaluate whether or not we might need to amend the legislation authorising the use of additives in jelly mini-cups."

Jelly mini-cups are marketed in the EU by different manufacturers as a single portion, pre-packaged sweet or confectionery, mainly intended for children. Some Member States have already taken measures at national level to temporarily prohibit the sale of such jelly mini-cups. The Commission Decision taken today will apply in all Member States. Manufacturers and importers will have to recall all jelly mini-cups containing additives derived from seaweed and certain gums.

Jelly mini-cups are individual, mouth-sized servings and may contain a small piece of preserved fruit, including apple, mango, lychee and assorted fruit. They are designed to be projected into the mouth by exerting pressure on the semi-rigid container and then eaten in one single bite. The plastic cup is approximately the size of a single-service coffee creamer. These are sold in various package sizes (e.g. bags, plastic jars) or individually. Some packets may be labelled with precautionary advice.

See also IP/02/435 of 19 March 2002 on jelly mini-cups containing "konjac" and IP/02/289 of 21 February 2002 on EU food law.

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