Labelling fruit juices

The law relating to the labelling of fruit juices and fruit nectars is governed by the Fruit Juices and Fruit Nectars (England) Regulations 2003.

The Regulations apply to fruit juices and fruit nectars, intended for human consumption that are sold to consumers and catering establishments.

Reserved descriptions

The following descriptions of products are referred to as “reserved descriptions”:

  • Fruit juice;
  • Concentrated fruit juice;
  • Fruit juice from concentrate;
  • Dehydrated or powdered fruit juice;
  • Fruit nectar.

The Regulations set out detailed criteria which must be met before a product can be described using one of these reserved descriptions.

The Regulations prohibit the sale of food with a label which bears, comprises or includes a reserved description unless:

  • the product corresponds with the reserved description for that product in question;
  • the description, derivative or word used is used in a context which indicates that it relates only to an ingredient of the food in question; or
  • the description, derivative or word is used in a context whereby and it cannot be confused with one of the reserved descriptions.

Labelling

When fruit juices, concentrated fruit juices, fruit juices from concentrate, dehydrated or powdered fruit juices or fruit nectars are sold they must be marked or labelled. The mark or label must contain the reserved description of the product.

Where sugar has been added to fruit juices, concentrated fruit juices, fruit juices from concentrate or dehydrated or powdered fruit juices the words “sweetened” or “with added sugar” should be added to the reserved description on the mark or label. There should also be an indication as to the maximum quantity of added sugar, calculated as dry matter and expressed in grams per litre.

Where pulp or cells other than the pulp or cells extracted from the product have been added to fruit juice, concentrated fruit juice or fruit juice from concentrate this should also be stated on the label.

In the case of fruit juices and fruit juices from concentrate which are made using two or more types of fruit and which are marked or labelled as fruit juice the words “fruit juice” or “fruit juice from concentrate” should be supplemented by the names of the fruits used, in descending order of the volume of the juice or purée for each type of fruit, calculated as unconcentrated juice or purée.

In the case of fruit juices and fruit juices from concentrate which are made using three or more types of fruit and which are marked or labelled as fruit juice the words “fruit juice” or “fruit juice from concentrate” should be supplemented by the names of the fruits used, in descending order of the volume of the juice or purée for each type of fruit, calculated as unconcentrated juice or purée. Alternatively the words “fruit juice” or “fruit juice from concentrate” should be supplemented by the words “several fruits” or using similar wording, or by numbering the types of fruits used.

Where fruit nectars are obtained partly from a concentrated product or products the label must state “partially made from concentrate(s) and such words must appear close to the words “fruit nectar” and in letters that are clearly visible and easily distinguished from the background against which they appear.

Where fruit nectars are obtained wholly from a concentrated product or products the label must state “made with concentrate(s)” and such words must appear close to the words “fruit nectar” and in letters that are clearly visible and easily distinguished from the background against which they appear.

A label for fruit nectar must also provide an indication of the minimum amount of fruit juice, fruit purée, or mixture of fruit juice and fruit purée, that it contains. The words “fruit content: x% minimum should be used and should appear in the same field of vision as the words “fruit nectar”.

Where concentrated fruit juice is sold other than to the final consumer, the label or a document accompanying the product must also indicate the presence and quantity of added sugars, added lemon juice and permitted acidifying agents (Directive 95/2/EC sets out what acidifying agents are permitted).

The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 contain requirements as to the manner in which food should be marked or labelled.

Permitted raw and other ingredients

Where products are sold as fruit juices, concentrated fruit juices, fruit juices from concentrate, dehydrated or powdered fruit juices or fruit nectars only certain raw materials are permitted in the preparation of the product. These are as follows:

  • fruit of any type other than tomatoes;
  • fruit purée (the fermentable but unfermented product produced as a result of sieving the edible part of whole or peeled fruit without removing the juice);
  • concentrated fruit purée (the product obtained from fruit purée as a result of removing a specific proportion of its water content);
  • certain types of sugars in certain circumstances;
  • honey;
  • pulp or cells.

The following other ingredients are permitted:

  • vitamins and minerals;
  • tartaric acid salts (permitted in the case of grape juice only);
  • lemon juice and concentrated lemon juice as long as the total amount does not exceed 3g per litre of the product. The lemon juice or concentrated lemon juice should be expressed as “anhydrous citric acid”;
  • carbon dioxide;
  • substances permitted by Council Directive 89/107/EEC;
  • pectolytic enzymes;
  • proteolytic enzymes;
  • amylolytic enzymes;
  • edible gelatine;
  • tannins;
  • bentonite;
  • silicon aerogel;
  • charcoal;
  • certain chemically inert filtration adjuvant and precipitation agents;
  • certain chemically inert adsorption adjuvants.

Authorised treatments

The Regulations permit the following types of treatment processes:

  • mechanical extraction processes;
  • physical processes permitted by Council Directive 2001/112/EC, which include in-line water extraction and diffusion of the edible parts of fruit;
  • in some circumstances, desulfitation by physical means in the case of the production of grape juice.

Minimum juice and purée content of fruit nectars

The Regulations set out minimum juice and purée content for fruit nectars. These vary from fruit to fruit.

Failure to comply with the Regulations

Contravention of the Regulations is a criminal offence punishable by a fine. However, a defence is available in certain circumstances in relation to exported products.