Ministry of Health: specifications on the wordings “lactose free” and “low lactose content”
The Ministry of Health issued a communiqué in view of the coming into force of (EU) Regulation no. 609/2013 next July 20, 2016. It will repeal Directive 2009/39/EC on food for special diets. Among other topics, the communiqué defines the conditions the label must fulfil to claim the absence of lactose or it low content thereby listing the minimum thresholds. In the case under examination, the wording “lactose free” can be used in milk and dairy products with a content lower than 0.1 g per 100 g or ml. Moreover, if such information has to be used, the label must quote the specific lactose limit with a wording like “lower than…”. On the other hand, the wording “low lactose content” can be quoted only if the content of disaccharide is lower than 0.5 g per 100 g or ml and the label must quote “less than 0.5 g per 100 g or ml”. In order to inform the consumer on the product to be purchased and for both wordings, the label shall quote the residual content of lactose and an indication such as “the products contains glucose and galactose after lactose breaking down”. Moreover, for all foodstuff which do not contain diary ingredients, the wording “naturally lactose free” must be compliant with fair information practices as per Art. 7 of Regulation no. 1169/2011.