The composition of foods intended for children under the age of 3 years is governed by strict specialist legislation.

EU Commission Directive 2006/125/EC on processed cereal based foods and baby foods for infants and young children provides the legislative requirements for the composition and labelling of complementary weaning foods for infants and young children.  The legislation sets rules for the composition and labelling of processed-cereal based foods and other baby foods.  The annexes of the Directive give strict criteria for the levels of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals to be found in weaning foods, and where necessary gives maximum and minimum levels based on advice from the Scientific Committee on Food.

The Directive also encompasses rules on pesticide residues, requiring that baby food contains no detectable levels of pesticide residues, and prohibits certain pesticides in the production of processed cereal-based baby foods. 

Directive 2006/125/EC falls under the Framework Directive 2009/39/EC on Foods for Particular Nutritional Uses (PARNUTs).

As of 2013, the PARNUTs Framework Directive will in future be replaced by Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 on food intended for infants and young children, food for special medical purposes, and total diet replacement for weight control (referred to in shorthand as the Regulation on ‘Foods for Specific Groups’).  Until this Regulation on Foods for Specific Groups comes into force in July 2016, the 2009 PARNUTs Directive (2009/39/EC) shall continue to apply.

For more information, please see the following links: