The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005URL (Internet address) : http://www.eu2005.lu/en/actualites/communiques/2005/06/03epsco-nutri/
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Mars Di Bartolomeo: "A significant step towards concrete European health"
The "Health and Consumer" Council of the European Union, which convened on 3 June 2005 in Luxembourg under the chairmanship of Mars Di Bartolomeo, the Luxembourg Minister for Health and Social Security, reached a policy agreement on two proposals for Council and European Parliament regulations in the field of health and consumer protection.
EU Health Ministers cleared the way for a first policy agreement on "the proposal for a regulation regarding nutition and health claims appearing on foodstuffs". Messages relating to the nutritional properties of foodstuffs, as stated by manufacturers on food packaging with the aim of increasing sales, are sometimes inaccurate and may even mislead consumers. With the aim of reducing the risk of error for consumers, this proposal for a regulation measure from the Council and the European Parliament is intended to ensure that information and publicity appearing on products is clearly indicated, using objective criteria which may be easily understood by consumers. Messages relating to consumer health should therefore by subject to independent scientific assessment prior to any inclusion on product labels, and should receive European authorisation. Furthermore, the person or company selling the foodstuff should be capable of proving the value of the information stated on the label.
The Council reached a second policy agreement on "the proposal regulation measure relating to the attribution of vitamins, minerals and other substances added to foodstuffs". This proposal is intended to guarantee the clear, safe labelling of the content and properties of foodstuffs containing vitamins or minerals, in order to enable consumers to make an informed choice on products. This measure should also enable us to check that these products do not represent any risk to public health in Europe.
At the end of these talks, Minister Di Bartolomeo said: "At a time when the European Union is occasionally criticised for being too distanced from its citizens, today we are taking a significant step towards a concrete Europe. We have been able to finalise a number of highly important policy areas for the public health of our fellow citizens and for consumers. To a very great extent, these decisions have been taken unanimously. They will contribute to developing better health and consumer protection in Europe".