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Fruit juice and fruit nectar manufacturers across Europe will be required to comply with changes to labelling and sugar content levels under regulations to be implemented from next week.

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Amendments by the European Commission to the Fruit Juices and Fruit Nectars Regulations implemented in 2003 will come into force on Monday (16 May). 

The changes mean that mixtures of pure fruit juices and concentrate must be labelled as ‘partially from concentrates', rather than ‘partially made from concentrates', in order to ensure consistent labelling across the EU. In addition, all fruit juices from concentrate will have to meet minimum Brix levels, which has previously not been a legal requirement.

Brix levels measure the sugar content of a liquid: 1 degree Brix means there is 1g of sugar per 100g of solution and so measures the quality of the product. Levels however, will vary depending on the type of juice produced.

Manufacturers that do not comply are likely to be prosecuted under the amended law.

Richard Laming, media director for the British Soft Drinks Association, said that while he is happy with the new regulations, having no transitional period will put an unnecessary cost on the industry.

"The transitional period is something that is still under discussion, we would like a longer period than the Commission was offering," Laming told just-drinks. "When it comes to labelling, if the transitional period is too short, you end up having to change packaging rather than using up existing stock. The normal practice is that the manufacturing industry is allowed to use up existing packaging. You also want to ensure you can tie together all the labelling changes."

He added: "If the transitional period is too short, it will put an unnecessary cost on the industry. We will comply, but the problem is the transitional period, it needs to be long enough so that manufacturers are not forced into throwing out unnecessary packaging, which adds to waste and increases costs."


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