03 Jun 2024

Understanding the upcoming requirements for honey, jam, fruit juices, and dried milk sold in the European Union.

Based on a proposal by the European Commission from April 2023 to amend the "Breakfast Directives", the specific points for amendments and corresponding Directive (EU) 2024/1438 were published on May 24th 2024. These amendments will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Member States must implement these changes into their national laws by December 14th 2025 and they should become valid by June 14th 2026. These changes will facilitate consumers to make healthier and more informed decisions about the products they buy whilst also tackling the increasing issue of honey authenticity in Europe.

We sat down with Katrin Tetens – Food labelling expert at our Bremen Food Services laboratory in Germany to learn more about the key changes and how they will affect the industry regarding the labelling of their products.  

Which Breakfast Directives are being updated in 2024?

The four Breakfast Directives with proposed changes are:

  • Directive 2001/110/EC relating to honey. This directive sets out the rules for composition, definitions, types of honey that can be sold under certain names, labelling, presentation, and origin information.
  • Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption. This directive defines the composition, naming, labelling and manufacturing characteristics of fruit juices.
  • Directive 2001/113/EC relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption. This directive defines the rules for the labelling and composition of the above products in terms of fruit, sugar, preservatives, and additives.
  • Directive 2001/114/EC relating to certain partly or wholly dehydrated preserved milk for human consumption. This directive aims to promote correct and non-misleading information for partly or wholly preserved milk by setting out rules for composition and processing.

How will the updated honey directive affect the labelling of honey?

Overall, the main changes for the honey industry relate to how honey is labelled, the requirement for improved traceability for providing origin information, and the removal of “filtered honey” from the EU market.

The previous terminology of "blend of EU honeys", "blend of non-EU honeys" and "blend of EU and non-EU honeys" will be replaced by the requirement of a detailed list of the exact countries in which the honey was harvested. The information must be given in descending order of weight and supplemented by the corresponding percentages. Member States can also decide whether the obligation to indicate the percentages only applies to the four largest proportions if these account for more than 50% of the whole product. For packaging with a filling quantity of less than 30g, the two-digit ISO code can be used instead of the full country name.

In addition, the designation, and the corresponding definition of "filtered honey" are removed from the directive. This is due to concerns that consumers do not understand the difference between the standard filtration performed by beekeepers after extracting honey and ultrafiltration which is used to remove foreign inorganic or organic matter, during which a significant amount or all of the pollen is also removed from the product. This makes it almost impossible to trace the origin of the honey and therefore enables honey fraud.  

What are the updates for fruit juices?

The draft revision of the Fruit Juice Directive provides for the introduction of three new fruit juice categories. These new categories have been proposed to promote innovation and market opportunities for the industry, all of which provide consumers with choices to help reduce sugar intake in their diet. These new categories are:

  1. Reduced-sugar fruit juice
  2. Reduced-sugar fruit juice from concentrate
  3. Concentrated reduced-sugar fruit juice

The use of sweeteners or the addition of ingredients with sweetening properties will not be allowed for these three new categories and it will now be permitted to use the statement "Fruit juice contains only naturally occurring sugars" voluntarily.

How will jam manufacturers and brands be impacted by the changes?

The new draft stipulates that member states can authorise the use of the term "marmalade" as an alternative for “jam”. The term marmalade had historically been reserved only for products produced from citrus fruits, however, consumers across Europe commonly use the terms “marmalade” and “jam” interchangeably to refer to jams from fruits other than citrus fruits, which is now reflected. Furthermore, the minimum fruit content for jam and extra jam will be increased. The fruit content of jam will increase from 350g to 400g/kg and from 450g to 500g/kg for extra jam. These changes aim to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of added sugar in the products on the market.

What are the changes for dehydrated preserved milk?

For dehydrated milk, the reduction of the lactose content by converting it into glucose and galactose should be authorised as a treatment method for milk if the corresponding information appears clearly on the label. Additionally, the distinction between ‘evaporated’ and ‘condensed’ milk will be removed, this brings the terminology in line with the Codex Alimentarius.

How Intertek can help

Our global network of Food Services laboratories and experts are here to help protect your brand and reputation with a better supply chain, from farm to fork. Our dedicated team can support you with product testing and analysis for safety and quality parameters as well as labelling services to ensure you’re compliant with food legislation around the world.

Headshot of Katrin Tetens
Katrin Tetens

Food Labelling Expert

Katrin Tetens is part of the label validation team located in Bremen, Germany. She is a state certified food chemist and has worked at Intertek since 2011. Katrin began her career at Intertek as a food expert within the analytical customer service team before joining the global label validation team in 2013. Day to day she coordinates international label validation requests, ensures the compliance of reports, whilst keeping up to date with regulatory requirements to support local experts with food label queries.  

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