These are the 12 health and nutrition changes coming to Germany in 2022

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Out with the old in with the healthy! Germany is about to adopt these 12 health and nutrition changes that are meant to improve the health of Germans in 2022

Health and nutrition changes: Amendment of the price information regulation for food, more money in care, the end of the killing of male chicks: the consumer center NRW has put together what will change in 2022 around the topics of health and nutrition.

1. Tattoos: More than 4,000 harmful substances restricted

health and nutrition changes

Tattoo inks are finally getting safer: The use of over 4,000 dangerous chemicals in tattoo inks and permanent make-up will be restricted across the EU from January 4, 2022. The EU has set limit values ​​for certain azo dyes, carcinogenic aromatic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and methanol, for example.

From January 4, 2023, the end of Pigment Blue 15: 3 and Pigment Green 7 – two popular dyes for colorful tattoos, for which – in contrast to many others – there are currently no technically safe and technically suitable alternatives are available. Tattoo inks and permanent make-up are mixtures of chemicals. They can contain dangerous substances that cause allergies and other more serious health effects such as genetic changes or cancer.

With the entry into force of the amendment to the REACH regulation, limit values ​​will be introduced from January 2022 for individual substances or groups of substances that are used in tattoo inks or permanent make-up. 

The restriction applies to chemicals that cause cancer or genetic damage, chemicals that are toxic to reproduction, as well as contact allergens and substances that are irritating to the skin or eyes. 

Color pigments that are introduced deep into the skin can get into various organs such as lymph nodes and liver. Sometimes tattoos are removed with the help of a laser, which breaks pigments and other substances into their building blocks. As a result, potentially harmful breakdown products can then be released and then circulate in the body. 

Chemicals used in tattoo inks and permanent make-up can remain in the body for a lifetime, there is also the possibility of long-term exposure to potentially harmful ingredients. In the future, chemicals will be automatically banned in tattoo inks if they are used as

  • carcinogenic, mutagenic, fertile or fertile,
  • contact allergen,
  • Fabric that is corrosive to the skin,
  • skin irritant substance,
  • eye irritant or
  • eye-damaging substance

classified or if these are restricted by the Cosmetics Ordinance.

Inks for tattoos or permanent make-up must in future also be labeled for this purpose. The label must also contain a list of the ingredients and relevant safety information.

2. Organ donation: New online register and more information on self-determined decision-making

health and nutrition changes

From March 2022, patients in general practitioners’ practices are to be given more detailed information about the options for organ donation. And www.organspende-register.de will be available from March also a new online portal to donors statements in future also make electronically or to withdraw.

This is provided for in the law to strengthen the willingness to make decisions regarding organ donation (in short: Transplantation Act), which comes into force on March 1, 2022. Among other things, it stipulates that a nationwide organ donation register will be set up at the Federal Office for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). 

Persons with statutory health insurance should be able to access this so-called register for declarations on organ and tissue donation via app by July 1, 2022 at the latest and be able to voluntarily submit, change and revoke their declarations there. The entries made there can replace the organ donor card. However, this will continue to be valid. The register will be accessible when the law comes into force on March 1st.

The current legal situation – the so-called decision solution – remains essentially unchanged. This means: An organ donation is generally only possible if the potential donor has consented during his lifetime or if the next of kin have consented.

With intensive information and educational work, the legislature wants to encourage the regular discussion of the subject of organ donation to a greater extent and also improve the possibilities for registering personal decisions.  

For example, federal and state identity card offices are to hand over or transmit educational material and organ donation cards when identity cards, passports or passport substitute papers are issued. Reference is made to further information and advice options as well as the possibility of registering in the online register on site or later.

In general practitioners’ practices, patients can be given open-ended advice every two years about the possibility of organ and tissue donation. This includes that they are informed about the importance of donations for sick people and the medical use of organs, tissues and tissue preparations is explained. However, the scope and importance of a declaration made on organ and tissue donation as well as the right of the next of kin to make decisions is also clarified. At the age of 16, patients can decide for themselves whether they want to agree or disagree with organ and tissue donation after death. You can also object to a donation at the age of 14. 

The law also provides for organ and tissue donation to be more firmly anchored in medical training. Basic knowledge about organ donation should also be imparted in the first aid courses prior to obtaining a driver’s license. The amendment to the Transplantation Act was passed by the Bundestag in January 2020, but it will only apply two years after its promulgation. According to the Organ Transplantation Foundation (DSO), there were 9,463 people on the waiting list for a donor organ in Germany in 2020.

3. More money for care

health and nutrition changes

From January 1, 2022 some areas of care will receive more money.

▶ There will be a five percent increase in care benefits in kind (from care level 2). The benefit is intended for support with personal hygiene, nutrition, mobility or home care by a care service. 

▶ The benefit amount for short-term care will also be increased by ten percent from January 1, 2022. It is then 1,774 euros. 

▶ And those who receive inpatient care, i.e. who live in a nursing home, will be relieved of their own contribution from 2022. Long-term care insurance pays a higher subsidy for care and training costs. The grant increases with the length of care, from five percent in the first year to 70 percent from the fourth year onwards. 

New: People in need of care in hospitals are entitled to transitional care in the clinic from 2022 if care cannot be ensured otherwise.

4. Snoring splint will be covered by health insurance for adults

health and nutrition changes

Adults with a sleep-related breathing disorder that requires treatment (obstructive sleep apnea) can receive a so-called mandibular protrusion splint as a benefit from the statutory health insurance from January 1, 2022 – on the condition that previous positive pressure therapy was unsuccessful. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of breathing disorder while sleeping. The splint consists of transparent, interconnected splints for the lower and upper jaw and keeps the tongue clear of the airways. 

5. Electronic certificate of incapacity for work (eAU) directly to the employer

health and nutrition changes

From July 1, 2022, the electronic certificate of incapacity for work (eAU) will be sent directly to employers by doctors and health insurers. Since October 2021, those with statutory health insurance have no longer received a “yellow slip” when they are on sick leave, but the eAU is sent digitally directly from the doctor’s practice to the health insurance company. As with the e-prescription, however, implementation may not start punctually across the board in all practices.

6. Male chicks should no longer be killed

health and nutrition changes

So far, around 45 million male laying hen breeds have been killed every year in Germany because they do not lay eggs and are unsuitable for meat production. This will be prohibited from January 1, 2022

The German Animal Welfare Act now contains the sentence: “It is forbidden to kill chicks of domestic chickens of the Gallus gallus species.” Germany is the first country with such a ban. However, this also means that eggs imported from abroad are not subject to this regulation and may continue to be sold in Germany or can also be used in pasta or cakes.

7. Food shelf life: A simple reference to a price reduction is sufficient

health and nutrition changes

If perishable goods or food with a short shelf life – such as milk and dairy products or fruit and vegetables – are sold at a reduced price so that they do not have to be thrown away, a simple note such as “30 percent cheaper” is sufficient from the end of May 2022 – without specifying the new reduced price. 

So far, retailers have been obliged to specify a new total or basic price for these reduced products and to create a new price tag for this. With the amendment of the Price Indication Ordinance, this obligation no longer applies. Provided that the shelf life has expired or the food is about to spoil and it is clearly indicated that the total price has therefore been reduced.

The new regulation is intended to be a further component of the national strategy for reducing food waste, with which the Federal Ministry of Food has introduced measures across the entire food supply chain – from agriculture, through processing, retail and out-of-home catering to the consumer.

8. Lose weight: clear mandatory declaration on advertisement

health and nutrition changes

Ten kilos in eight days or three kilos overnight – products that want to support a weight-controlling diet often come with weighty promises. So that such success prognoses with measure and aim no longer arouse exaggerated expectations in those who want to lose weight, the EU has issued a regulation with new requirements for the labeling, presentation and advertising of total rations for weight-controlling nutrition. 

▶ In future, the corresponding powders, drinks or shakes will no longer be allowed to contain any indications of the rate of weight loss and the possible success of weight loss. Nutrient reference values ​​are also prohibited on these products.      

The mandatory nutrition declaration for total rations for weight control diets must also state how much fiber and how much choline the product contains. Choline is one of the semi-essential nutrients, so the body can produce some of it itself. A balanced diet ensures an adequate supply of this nutrient, which is important for the functioning of the brain, nervous system and liver.

The legislative change in accordance with the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/1798 to supplement Regulation (EU) No. 609/2013 must be implemented by the member states into national law by October 27, 2022 . A corresponding change in the diet regulation would be conceivable in Germany.

9. New EU organic regulation for production and labeling

health and nutrition changes

The new EU organic regulation will come into force on January 1, 2022. Novelties in the law are changes in the control system, new regulations for imported organic products, new requirements for producers and an expanded range of products that can be marketed as organic products. 

Agricultural products such as salt, mate, beeswax, cotton or wool can be offered in organic quality. Wild animals (products from hunting or fishing) are still not subject to the EU organic regulation. It regulates how organic food is produced, controlled, labeled and imported into Europe. 

▶ The new organic regulation is intended to ensure fairer competition and protect against misleading organic products.

10. Maximum allowable levels of harmful 1,2-unsaturated pyrrolizi-dinalkaloids (PA)

health and nutrition changes

From July 1, 2022 the legal maximum allowable quantities 1,2-unsaturated pyrrolizi-dinalkaloids (PA) will take effect. These pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) can damage or change genetic material and cause cancer. Their breakdown products are toxic to the liver. 

High levels of 1,2-unsaturated pyrrolizi-dinalkaloids (PA) are found in tea and herbal tea. High concentrations of these compounds can also occur in certain honeys, depending on their origin. Moreover, leafy salads and herbs/spices may be contaminated with parts of plants containing PAs, such as Senecio vulgaris (ragwort, groundsel), which contain significant amounts of 1,2-unsaturated PAs. Food supplements made from or containing plants with a PA content may represent another source.

In addition to teas, herbs such as borage, lovage, marjoram, oregano and cumin are particularly relevant in Germany. 

▶ Products that are already on the market by July 1, 2022 can still be sold until December 31, 2023.

11. Lead and cadmium in Food: Transition periods for levels are ending

health and nutrition changes

The limit value for lead in fine wines will be reduced starting with the 2022 harvest: Allowed for fine wine will be 0.10 milligrams per kilogram of grapes from 0.15 milligrams (Harvest 2016 to 2020). The EU had already set stricter or additional maximum levels for lead in baby food, spices, wild mushrooms and salt at the end of August 2021.

▶ The new or stricter maximum levels for the heavy metals lead and cadmium in a large number of foods are part of the European plan to fight cancer, which aims to further reduce the level of carcinogenic ingredients. 

In addition, the general minimization requirement for contaminants applies. These are substances that are not intentionally or consciously added to food, but are still undesirable. For example, they come from the environment or are introduced through production processes.

▶ The background to the new limit values ​​for the hazardous heavy metal lead are findings that there is no intake below which health damage for humans can be safely excluded. The levels in food should therefore be as low as possible.

By the way: lower or new maximum levels for cadmium have been set for fruit, vegetables, grains and oilseeds, among other things, since the end of August 2021. Food produced before the ordinances came into force could still be placed on the market – but the transitional period stipulated for this will end on February 22nd or 28th, 2022. 

12. Food additives: Titanium oxide prohibited throughout the EU

health and nutrition changes

Whether in sweets, ice cream or dietary supplements: The widely used white coloring agent titanium oxide ensures that food gets color or shine. So far it could also be contained in coatings, for example in coated tablets and chewing gum. This additive (E171), which cannot be ruled out that it can change genetic cell material, must disappear from product compositions in the food industry in 2022.

▶ The EU member states have approved a corresponding proposal by the EU Commission, and the regulations are expected to come into force at the beginning of 2022 . Then a six-month phase-out phase begins, after which a complete ban on the food additive will apply.

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