Sports Food experts join forces to call for an EU legal framework that ensures the safe use of sport food as well as appropriate information to consumers
Sports foods are used by millions of professional and amateur athletes as well as sports enthusiasts across Europe. These consumers rely on sports foods to meet their specific nutritional needs before, during and after exercise. Yet, the current EU legislative framework on general food does not take into account the specificities of sports foods, preventing appropriate labelling and putting at risk its safe use.
Mindful of this regulatory gap, four leading trade associations in the field of sport foods – Specialised Nutrition Europe (SNE), EU Specialty Food Ingredients, the European Vegetable Protein Association (EUVEPRO) and Food Supplements Europe (FSE) – came together to develop a Call requesting appropriate adaptations to general EU food law to ensure the safe use and appropriate labelling of sports food in the EU.
President of SNE Roger Clarke states: “Sports foods are specifically formulated to meet the nutritional requirements in case of physical performance and recovery after exercise”. In this context, they contain essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, or carbohydrates in quantities which frequently differ from the nutritional composition of normal foods. It is also critical to adequately inform consumers how to correctly use these products and label the nutritional composition in a way that is relevant for their specific use.
In order to ensure a meaningful, harmonised regulatory framework that promotes an efficient and safe use of sports foods, the Call asks for a clear definition of the category; the establishment of certain essential compositional criteria; the possibility for labels to refer to specific nutritional needs of people engaged in sports activities - not to the general population; and the authorisation of conditions of use to properly inform consumers. “Without such adaptations, consumers will not have access to the information they need to properly and safely use sport foods”, stress SNE, EU Specialty Food Ingredients, EUVEPRO and FSE. Besides, diverging national provisions and differences in interpretation of EU law will create trade barriers and ultimately damage the competitiveness of SMEs involved in the sports nutrition market.
“We trust that our Call proposes constructive and pragmatic solutions to ensure the much needed adaptations of the general EU food law for sports food”, specify the four co-signatory associations. In the meantime, SNE, EU Specialty Food Ingredients, EUVEPRO and FSE support a transition period to ensure that the status quo remains until the necessary adaptations and harmonisations are finalised.
Notes to editors:
- Specialised Nutrition Europe (SNE)represents the specialised nutrition industry across the European Union – including manufacturers of sports food,
- EU Specialty Food Ingredients represents the European specialty food ingredients industries,
- European Vegetable Protein Association (EUVEPRO) represents the producers of vegetable proteins for human consumption in the EU, and
- Food Supplements Europe (FSE) represents the food supplements sector in the EU.