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EC adopts proposal to amend honey rules

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Friday, 21 September 2012

EC adopts proposal to amend honey rules

According to recent updates, the European Commission has adopted a proposal to amend rules on honey to clarify the true nature of pollen following a European Court of Justice preliminary ruling. In line with international WTO standards, the proposal defines pollen as a natural constituent of honey and not as an ingredient.
The Court of Justice based its interpretation on the honey directive dating back to 2001 and qualified pollen as an ingredient in honey arguing that the pollen is found in honey mainly due to intervention by the beekeeper. However, the Commission proposal recognises that pollen is a natural constituent and not an ingredient of honey; it enters into the hive as a result of the activity of the bees and is found in honey regardless of whether the beekeeper intervenes. Consequently, since pollen is considered as a natural constituent of honey, EU labelling rules requiring a list of ingredients would not apply.
The Commission's proposal will not affect the conclusion of the Court as regards the application of the GMO legislation to GM pollen in food. In particular it does not alter the Court conclusion that honey containing GM pollen can be placed on the market only if it is covered by an authorisation under the legislation. Furthermore, the labelling rules on GMO in food will also be applicable3. The proposal also aims to align the existing Commission implementing powers in the Honey Directive 2001/110/EC with those introduced by the Lisbon Treaty.

Source: European Commission