Update October 2018
DG Research (JRC) has published its report: Feeding infants and young children. An analysis of national food-based dietary guidelines and specific products available in the EU market; EUR 29395 EN; Luxembourg Publications Office of the European Union, 2018;
Abstract: Introducing children to healthy and diverse foods at an early age helps to establish taste preferences and good eating habits later in life. Processed cereal based food (PCBF) and baby food are designed to satisfy the nutritional requirements of healthy infants and young children, and are intended for use by infants while they are being weaned and by young children as a supplement to their diet and/or for their progressive adaptation to ordinary food. However the current EU compositional requirements for such products date back to 1990 and therefore need to be updated. This report aims to support the work needed to prepare a proposal for a new delegated act regarding PCBF and baby food. It describes current EU nutrient and food based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) and recommendations in the context of infant and young child feeding (from 4/6 months to 3 years old). In addition, it also provides a non-exhaustive analysis of PCBF and baby food products in EU markets; nutrition information on energy, protein, carbohydrates, sugars, fat, saturated fat, sodium and dietary fibre is presented for over 4 200 PCBF and baby food products.
In 2016 the EU Parliament objected to the levels of sugar in baby food and called for baby foods to be labelled from 6 months. On the labelling part of the Parliament’s resolution, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been asked by the European Commission to update the scientific opinion on the appropriate age for introduction of complementary feeding of infants. They are expected publish this opinion by the end of Sept 2018.
On the general review of Directive 2006/125/EC, the Joint Research Centre has been asked by the Commission to carry out a study on processed cereal-based food and baby food that can feed into the preparation of this update. The JRC will study the baby foods on the market and existing national and international food based dietary guidelines and recommendations in the context of infant and young child feeding. It will also look at the issue of sugar and is expected to report at the end of March 2018. (The JRC study will form the basis of Commission discussions with Member States.)
Following on from the JRC study, expected by the end of March 2018, EFSA, will be asked, in its role as risk assessor, if and how the consumption by infants and young children of processed cereal-based foods and baby foods with a given composition, as recommended by the JRC study, is compatible with a balanced diet. Once EFSA has completed its assessment, only then will the Commission put forward a draft delegated act on processed cereal-based foods.