Europe-wide changes that threaten the viability of some popular dieting products will go ahead after Conservative attempts to have the proposals scrapped were narrowly defeated today.
Although a majority of MEPs backed an objection lodged by the party’s Food Safety Spokesman Julie Girling, the total was 31 votes short of the 376 absolute majority required.
Mrs Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar said: “I am very disappointed at the partisan attitude to this vote. It’s a practical not a political issue. The changes will lead to adverse impacts on the taste and palatability of products, shorten their shelf life and increase prices for consumers, which defies all logic.”
Acting on advice from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Commission is increasing the minimum level of Essential Fatty Acids and protein in so-call total diet replacement (TDR) products. However, the EFSA admits scientific evidence for the rise in fatty acid content is incomplete and the new recommended protein levels exceed the organisation’s recommended minimum intake.
TDRs are available as meals, drinks and snacks. When the changes are implemented it is feared that people may opt for self-led diets, which may not meet basic nutritional standards and rarely prove successful, or buy similar products online from outside the EU that often do not meet the same high safety standards.
Mrs Girling added: “At a time when we are seeing obesity levels rise and pressure on public health services spiralling, something the Commission acknowledges, I cannot understand why products which help consumers lose weight and consequently lowers their chances of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes should be subjected to even stricter guidelines.
“Members should understand the potential negative ramifications of this new legislation on both citizens and their respective national health services, but this was obviously not something that was taken into consideration and that is deeply disappointing.
“Dieting is hard enough to begin with. We should be promoting products that can help reverse the trend.”
Manufacturers will have five years to introduce the new regulations.
Julie Girling MEP