L’accord politique de Décembre 2012, dans lequel a été convenu «sans gluten» devraient être transférés à la législation alimentaire générale, a récemment été officialisée par le Conseil. Le lendemain, la Commission européenne a annoncé ce qu’elle entend par « un niveau de protection au minimum identique » : C’est à dire le même niveau de protection que maintenant, mais étendu en champ d’application à des aliments non préemballés. Cela semble confirmer que la limite de la teneur en gluten (actuellement 20 ppm) restera la seule exigence.
The latest and probably last version contains no substantive changes compared to the political agreement of December 2012 when it comes to the « gluten free » issue. The most prominent change is that the subject moved from Recital 26 to Recital 41.
Formally, the Council vote was on its position at first reading on proposal 2011/0156(COD). Just as with the vote on the political compromise, all countries voted in favor except Germany (against) and UK (abstained). As an explanation, these countries issued exactly the same statements as in December 2012, suggesting their objections are not related to the « gluten free » part.
The European Commission responded to the Council’s decision the next day and wrote about « gluten free »:
« La Commission soutient la position du Conseil, qui garantira le maintien d’un niveau de protection identique pour les consommateurs et permettra de surcroît d’étendre aux denrées alimentaires non préemballées les règles existantes, renforçant ainsi cette protection. »
Notice how the Commission interprets the political agreement’s words « at least the same level of protection »: The Commissie understands this to mean the same level of protection plus extension of the scope of application to non pre-packed foods. It seems like the Commission is trying to say that nothing will be added to the current requirement of 20 ppm for carrying a « gluten free » mark. For the Commission, it seems, additional requirements such as those invented by some MEPs last year, such as requirements regarding the nutritional value, vitamins, minerals, production method and medical-scientific research on the composition of the product, are out of the question.
The Commission also mentions the Council’s request to think about making a distinction between food that with ingredients that were made gluten free and naturally gluten free food, although it does not give any comments on this request.
The proposal is now at the European Parliament, where it will probably first be discussed by the ENVI Committee before being tabled in a plenary session for second reading. The Procedure file on 2011/0156(COD) of the European Parliament currently shows 10 June 2013 as a date for both an ENVI Committee vote and consideration in a plenary meeting. An ENVI Committee listing also mentions the date of 29 May 2013.
Considering that the ENVI Committee already approved this agreement last December, the European Parliament will no doubt vote in favor. But perhaps some members will use the opportunity to tell the Commission their opinion on the distinction between rendered gluten free and naturally gluten free foods.
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