The European Commission has been granted powers to make changes to EU legislation on food health claims and the addition of minerals and vitamins to food.

The EU Council of Ministers said a range of decisions should from now on be made by the Commission, which will be advised by committees of specialists from member states - the so-called comitology procedure.

This decision-making structure bypasses the Council and the European Parliament - and is designed to speed up non-essential detailed changes to these important laws.

Under this system, the Commission can, for instance, establish and update nutrient profiles of substances and guidance on how they can be used.

The Commission can also change lists of nutrition and health claims and amend the list of foods under which the making of claims is restricted or prohibited.

The Commission will also have the power to define the conditions under which vitamins and minerals may be used in foods, such as purity criteria, maximum amounts and minimum amounts.