The EU Fruit Juice Directive

The composition of fruit juices, concentrated fruit juices, dehydrated fruit juices and fruit nectars, their reserved names, their manufacture and labelling characteristics are subject to specific Community rules under Council Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption. These products are defined on the basis of their composition and preparation processes so as to ensure that the terms are used correctly and not misleading. The Directive also defines particular designations used in certain countries and languages. The text lists the raw materials which may be used to manufacture juice and nectar, the minimum content of fruit juice and/or fruit purée in fruit nectar as well as all authorised additives.

This Directive was amended in August 2009 by the Commission Directive 2009/106/EC in order to be adapted to technical progress taking account of developments in relevant international standards, in particular the Codex Standard for fruit juices and nectars (Codex Stan 247-2005) and the AIJN Code of Practice for evaluation of quality and authenticity of juices.

The European Commission submitted a new proposal for the revision of the Directive in 2011 in order to bring it closer to the Codex Standard, but also to the current practices in Europe. The initiative for the second revision of the fruit juice directive comes from the European Commission’s DG Agriculture. The discussion first started in June 2009 in GREX*. After the discussions were finalised a draft proposal from DG AGRI was prepared and went through the Commission inter-service consultation. The adoption and transmission of the formal Commission proposal to the Council and the European Parliament took place on 21 September 2010. The European Parliament adopted on 14 December 2011 by a large majority the text of the new Directive. The text was formally ratified by the Council of Ministers on 8 March 2012 and published in the EU Official Journal L 115 of 27 April 2012 as Directive 2012/12/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 April 2012 amending Council Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products intended for human consumption. The Directive thus enters into force on 27 April 2012. Member States need to transpose the Directive into their national legislation before 28 October 2013. Until 28 April 2015 products placed on the market or labeled before 28 October 2013 can be sold.

The legislation is a Directive which means that it is not directly applicable and has to be fully transposed into Member States laws. Strictly speaking operators must continue to comply with the current regulations until they are repealed and amended.

To read more about development of discussions and the current status of this dossier please click here.

* GREX – Group of National Experts for Marketing Standards