Fruit juice law changes in the EU announced

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 16th December 2011

The European Parliament has voted in favour of putting in place tighter legislation on the composition of fruit juices, ensuring companies stick to stricter labelling guidelines.

Companies will no longer be able to add sugar and sweeteners to drinks labelled as “fruit juices” under the EU’s new labelling rules. It is already industry practice not to add sugar to juices, and that practice is now being written into law.

The new legislation will apply to all juice products regardless of whether they are produced in the EU or imported from elsewhere.

Mixed fruit juices

Under the new legislation, a mix of two juices must in future have a product name that reflects the contents. For example, a mixture of 90% apple and 10% strawberry juice would need to be called “Apple and strawberry juice”, whereas currently it may be labelled just “Strawberry juice”. A generic name like “Mixed juice” could be used if there are three or more fruit sources.

‘Pure’ orange juice

Many products sold as “orange juice” contain up to 10% mandarin juice, which contributes to colour and taste. This practice is common in Brazil and the US, which have a big share of the European market. To maintain a level playing field, all imported and EU orange juice will need to be pure to be sold as such, or will include mandarin in the product name.

European Parliament Rapporteur Andrés Perelló Rodriguez said, “Our priority was to offer consumers accurate information so they would know what they are buying. Parliament played a key role in banning added sugar in products sold as juices and in clarifying the presence of sugars or sweeteners in similar drinks.”

The new rules will come into force after a transition period of 18 months.