EU 'Breakfast Directives': How do you like your honey/jam/fruit juice/milk in the Morning?

New labelling requirements will be coming for the so-called EU ‘Breakfast Directives’: Labelling of Honey, jam, fruit juice and Milk are to be affected.

The seven ‘breakfast directives’ establish common rules on the composition, sale name, labelling and presentation of honey, jams, jellies, fruit juices and dehydrated milk.

On 21 April 2023, the European Commission proposed to update some of the existing rules. The proposed directive, amends four of the seven ‘breakfast directives’. EUR-Lex - 52023PC0201 - EN - EUR-Lex (  These updated "breakfast directives" aim to provide consumers with more information to make informed choices, increase transparency regarding product origins, and combat food fraud in the following four categories of food products:

  • honey (dir. 2001/110/EC)
  • fruit juices and other similar products intended for human consumption (dir. 2001/112/EC)
  • fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and chestnut cream (dir. 2001/113/EC)
  • some types of preserved milk, partially or totally dehydrated (dir. 2001/114/EC).

The legislative act will now be published in the EU Official Journal in the coming weeks, and the Directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication. Member States will have 18 months to transpose the directive, and national provisions will apply 24 months after the Directive enters into force.


According to the European Commission, almost half of imported honey is suspected of being adulterated and is undetected on the EU single market (Commission 2021). To tackle this, the new legislation will make country of origin labelling clearer. Countries of origin will be listed in descending order based on weight and include the percentage each country represents.

It will be obligatory to clearly indicate, in the same field of vision as the name of the product, the countries where the honey comes from instead of only if it comes from the EU or not, which is currently the case for honey blends. The percentages of the honey coming from at least the top four countries of origin must also be indicated. If this does not represent more than half of the total honey (50%), the percentages must be indicated for all countries.

Following feasibility studies, and to further limit fraud, the Commission shall propose a unique identifier code or similar technique to be able to trace the honey back to beekeepers. It was also agreed that an EU platform of experts should be set up to gather data to improve controls, detect adulteration in honey and to provide recommendations for an EU traceability system that allows for the honey to be traced back to the harvesting producer or importer.

Fruit juices

To allow consumers to make informed choices and to respond to the growing demand for reduced-sugar products, the legislation will see the introduction of three fruit juice categories:

  • reduced-sugar fruit juice
  • reduced-sugar fruit juice from concentrate
  • concentrated reduced-sugar fruit juice

Reduced sugar fruit juices should not use sweeteners to compensate for the effect of sugar reduction on the taste, texture and quality of the final product.

In addition, the statement 'fruit juices contain only naturally occurring sugars' will be permitted to be used on labels.

Fruit jams

To promote the production of jams with increased fruit content and to reduce the amount of sugar in products, the legislation will see the minimum fruit content in jams increased. The minimum fruit content will be increased from 350 to 450 g per kilo in jams, and from 450 to 500 g per kilo in extra jams. The Commission claim this will enable healthier diets whilst also support the EU fruit market.

Within 36 months after entry into force of the Directive, the EU Commission may introduce legislation on country of origin labelling for fruit used in jams.


To respond to consumer’s needs, the use of treatments that produce lactose-free dehydrated milk products will be permitted.


On the face of it these ‘Breakfast Directive’ changes look positive to consumer choice. However, the mandatory indication of origin on the honey label had already been introduced in 2001. This obligation could simply have been extended to honey blends. By referencing the %’s required in this way the obligations on origin for honey producers are much more onerous than other foods and commercial honey blends (ie EU and non-EU, according to season, availability and price) may have to re-organise their facilities and labelling and that may affect price and availability. 

It does appear one-sided that these origin obligations were not replicated for fruit used in fruit juices, jams and marmalades, nor the milk used to produce preserved milk, but in light of the reservation this may be extended to these foods in the future, potentially indicates the spread of mandatory origin labelling throughout food labelling to come.

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