The Regulation is issued on the basis of Article 5 of the Food Act and repeals the Regulation on the specific requirements for dairy products (adopted by Decree No 119 of the Council of Ministers of 2012 (published in the State Gazette (SG) No 48 of 2012; amend. SG No 1 of 2013; Decision No 5890 of the Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Bulgaria of 2015 – SG No 39 of 2015; amend. SG No 58 of 2018; amend. SG No 96 of 2020)
Draft Decree of the Council of Ministers on the adoption of a Regulation on the specific requirements for dairy products.
The draft Regulation on the specific requirements for dairy products lays down:
1. the specific requirements for dairy products;
2. the requirements for imitation milk products;
3. the requirements for labelling and marketing of the products under subparagraphs 1 and 2, as well as for labelling of foodstuffs for the production or preparation of which imitation milk products were used.
The draft Regulation adheres to the structure and contents of the current Regulation on the specific requirements for dairy products, and certain provisions have been added in order to introduce certain requirements for the labelling of foodstuffs for the production or preparation of which imitation milk products were used.
Stricter requirements for the labelling and marketing of foodstuffs, for the production of which imitation milk products were used, have been introduced. The proposed amendments introduce the requirement that the presence of an imitation product be explicitly indicated on the label of a product or for prepared food that contain an imitation product. In case the food is not pre-packaged, the requirement shall be implemented by placing the information about the imitation product used at the place of sale or marketing.
National measures related to the provision to consumers of food information regarding imitation products have been introduced, pursuant to Articles 38–39 of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. Such measures aim to protect public health, ensure consumer protection and prevent fraud. In this relation the draft Regulation will be notified in accordance with the requirements of Article 45(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council
Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC)No 608/2004 (OJ L 304 of 22.11.2011)
The national measures on the provision of food information regarding imitation products, which were introduced in the current Regulation on the specific requirements for dairy products in 2018, have been made more precise. They aim to protect consumers’ right to informed choice and to prevent fraud.
The imitation products must be marketed at food outlets pre-packaged by the producer, on different stalls or in designated areas, different from those where the dairy products are marketed, and they must be clearly designated as “Imitation products”.
The draft introduces requirements for the names, properties, labelling and the commercial supply of the most widespread cheeses on the market in the country, namely the brined cheeses. A definition of the product “white brined cheese” has been proposed, and criteria for the main properties of white brined cheese have been introduced, namely dry matter content not less than 40% and fat content in dry matter not less than 40%. These criteria fully comply with the requirements of the Codex Alimentarius for brined cheese, and more specifically with the Codex Group Standard for Cheeses in Brine (CODEX STAN 208-1999).
The draft proposes a definition of “brined cheese with higher water content”. To a certain extent this definition corresponds to the publicly discussed attitudes of consumers, and indeed gives a better idea what distinguishes such cheese from the proposed above definition of “white brined cheese”, i.e. the higher water content.
The draft Regulation proposes criteria for using the designations “high fat”, “full fat”, “medium fat content”, “partially skimmed” and “skimmed” for white brined cheeses only, containing a guaranteed minimum of 40% dry matter. These criteria also fully comply with the requirements of the Codex Alimentarius for brined cheese, and more specifically with the Codex Group Standard for Cheeses in Brine (CODEX STAN 208-1999).
Requirements for the labelling and presentation of various types of brined cheeses have been proposed. The label on the consumer package of these products must indicate the dry matter percentage and the fat content in dry matter. This information shall appear on the face of the package with font size according to Annex VI, Part A, Point 4 to Regulation (EC) No 119/2011.
The brined cheese with higher water content is marketed at food outlets only pre-packaged by the producer in packages that cannot be removed at the outlet.