L’accordo politico del dicembre 2012, preparando il terreno per un trasferimento di “senza glutine” alla legislazione alimentare generale, è stato recentemente formalizzato dal Consiglio. Il giorno successivo, la Commissione europea ha annunciato come lei interpreta “almeno lo stesso livello di protezione” a significare: lo stesso livello di protezione come ora, anche se esteso nel campo di applicazione ai prodotti alimentari non preconfezionati. Ciò sembra confermare che il limite al contenuto di glutine (attualmente 20 ppm) rimarrà l’unico requisito.
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 Commissione appoggia la posizione del Consiglio, la quale garantirà non solo il mantenimento di un pari livello di protezione dei consumatori ma permetterà altresì di estendere la normativa vigente agli alimenti non preconfezionati, migliorando in tal modo la protezione dei consumatori.”
– Comunicazione della Commissione al Parlamento Europeo, 23 aprile 2013
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 that the Commission is saying 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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