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ESA gathers key stakeholders to discuss food packaging and the environment
December 2018


At the end of November 2018, ESA together with the EU affairs Brussels-based media Euractiv, organised a stakeholder workshop entitled Food packaging and the environment: Towards the end of single-use packaging.

 

Panellists, including representatives from the European Commission, environmental NGO and the packaging industry, discussed current barriers and opportunities for improving the sustainability of food packaging in light of the current discussions at EU level on single-use plastics.

 

ESA Director General, Sebastian Emig, recalled that current savoury snacks packaging performs many essential functions for our products (e.g. ensuring optimum shelf-life and food safety; reducing food waste; etc.) while acknowledging that manufacturers need to step up efforts to develop more sustainable packaging options. He also stressed that littering is a societal issue which should be addressed through a comprehensive and holistic approach.

 

A short video clip with shots of the event and interviews of speakers is available here.

 

New ESA videos on acrylamide mitigation
November 2018


ESA and its members have played a pioneering role in addressing acrylamide mitigation by developing a detailed and ambitious industry-wide code of practice now enshrined in the EU regulation. ESA has produced three videos which are aimed at SME manufacturers of potato crisps made from fresh sliced potato, as well as dough-based potato crisps, snacks, and crackers, to help them when implementing Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 establishing mitigation measures and benchmark levels for the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in food. These videos can be viewed on our website here.

 

European Parliament backs Commission proposals on single-use plastics

October 2018

 

On 23 October 2018, the European Parliament (EP) plenary adopted its report on the European Commission’s proposal for an EU directive to reduce the impact of certain plastic products in the environment. As of 2021, items such as plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds, will be banned as well as products made from oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags or packaging and fast-food containers made of expanded polystyrene.

Members of the EP also confirmed the extension of marking requirements on single-use products to packets and wrappers made from flexible material, and the Commission’s proposal to extend the scope of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes to cover clean-up costs of littering (increasing the financial contribution of manufacturers to those schemes).

The EP and the Commission will now enter into negotiations with the EU Council in which ministers will have to set their own position on the file. A compromise text is expected by the end of the year before final adoption in Q2 2019.

Latest data & trends of European food and drink sector

October 2018

FoodDrinkEurope has published its latest data & trends report highlighting key figures and providing insights on the food and drink industry’s structure and economic performance in Europe.

Europe's food and drink industry employs 4.57 million people in the EU with a turnover of €1.1 trillion and €230 billion in value added, which makes it the largest manufacturing industry in the EU. In half of the EU’s 28 member states, the food and drink industry is the biggest employer within manufacturing.

The report also provides an outlook on markets: about 75% of EU food and drink exports are destined for the EU single market. At the same time, the EU is the largest exporter of food and drink products in the world.

Study supporting REFIT evaluation of EU legislation on plant protection products and pesticides residues

October 2018

The Commission has published a study which supports the REFIT evaluation of the European Union legislation on plant protection products (PPPs) and their residues. It assesses the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence, and the added value of two regulations: Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 on the placing of PPPs on the market, and Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 on pesticide residues in food and feed.

The study provides an analysis of the legislative framework for pesticides, based on case studies and on extensive consultation which encompassed interviews, focus groups, workshops, and surveys. The study reviews the implementation and the functioning of the legislation and pinpoints critical areas for possible future action. The study finds that the two regulations are overall effective and relevant, but there is room for improvement. The final version of the report, with proposed actions, is expected to be published in the first semester of 2019.

Import duties: customs reclassification of blanched peanuts

September 2018

 

At the request of China, the Harmonized System Committee (HSC) of the World Customs Organization (WCO) has once again discussed the classification of blanched peanuts.

The classification has an immediate impact on import duties, as heading 20.08 is linked to a 11.20% tariff rate for the main origins, versus 0% corresponding to heading 12.02. In line with ESA’s position, the HSC voted to keep blanched groundnuts under heading 12.02. It was also agreed to amend the description of the heading in order to rule out future disputes.

A big success again for Share a Snack!

July 2018

 

The 5th edition of ESA's Share a Snack event took place under a radiant sun on 28 June in the crowded Place du Luxembourg near to the European Parliament in Brussels.

 

Share a Snack is a unique occasion to engage with visitors, specifically assistants of Members of the European Parliament, to raise awareness about savoury snacks and debunk myths often associated with our products.

 

As in previous years, we offered visitors the opportunity to challenge their knowledge of the sector with a quiz which was taken more than 350 times (a new record!).

 

We again had very positive feedback this year and we would like to warmly thank ESA members for providing delicious savoury snack samples from all over Europe!

 

To get a better sense of what the event looked like, we invite you to watch here a short video clip produced by Euractiv.com, our media partner for the event. You can also have a look at our social media campaign on Twitter in the run-up of the event for more content and pictures.

 

MEPs enjoy tasty savoury snacks in Strasbourg

July 2018

 

A week after the Share a Snack event, ESA participated for the second time to the annual garden party organised by the European Parliamentary Association (EPA) in Strasbourg.

 

An attendance of around 300 invitees, including a vast majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and staffers, ESA had the opportunity to organise a much-welcomed tasting with a great variety of savoury snacks from different markets.

 

This networking event allowed for informal discussions and contacts with a number of MEPs, including the President of the EPA, Herbert Dorfmann, a prominent member of the Agriculture Committee in the European Parliament (see picture).

 

Please check our Twitter channel to see some pictures of the event.

 

EU Health Ministers adopt Council conclusions on advertising food to children

June 2018

 

On 22 June 2018, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) adopted the Council Conclusions on “A healthy future of Europe: healthy nutrition for children".

 

As expected, the text has a strong focus on marketing and advertising to children and calls for further restrictions on 'HFSS' food advertising. The text includes limited recognition of the value of multi-stakeholder dialogue and voluntary commitments and invites member states to create opportunities for further engagement with stakeholders, while stating that “where self-regulation alone is not adequate, legislative measures might be needed.”

 

Council Conclusions are political declarations which don’t have binding effects but could be used by policy-makers as a roadmap. This may have an impact in the context of the future implementation by all member states of the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS).

 

New Q&A on the Food Information to Consumers Regulation

June 2018

 

A European Commission Notice on Questions and Answers (Q&A) on the application of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 (Food Information to Consumers Regulation) was published in the EU Official Journal on 8 June 2018.

 

This document updates and replaces the previous Q&A document adopted in January 2013, and provides answers to a series of additional questions concerning the application of the FIC Regulation. The new version modifies some previous Q&As, including the Q&A on the definition of ‘largest surface’, which introduces the 40% rule for cylindrical or nearly cylindrical packages.

 

The text of the Notice can be viewed here.

 

Fosetyl-Al and phosphonates: new maximum residue levels (MRLs) for tree nuts

June 2018

 

On 6 June 2018 the Commission published Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/832 amending the MRLs for fosetyl-al in tree nuts. The new MRL is 500 mg/kg of for fosetyl-al (sum of fosetyl, phosphonic acid and their salts, expressed as fosetyl) in almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts/cobnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nut kernels, pistachios, and walnuts. The new regulation applies from 26 June 2018.

 

These MRLs are the result of the research and subsequent application submitted by the Almond Board of California, in order to allow the use of phosphonates as an ingredient of biostimulants and fertilisers used on tree nuts. Phosphoric acid and phosphonates are classified as a non-authorised pesticide in the EU; they are however included in the definition of fosetyl-al residues.

 

Joint Research Centre to conduct pan-European testing on alleged dual quality of foods sold in EU

May 2018

 

In April the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) published its common testing methodology for assessing dual quality of foods and has announced that it will now use the methodology as a basis for pan-European testing. A first interim report will be published in September 2018 and the final report is anticipated before the end of year.

 

The objective is to determine whether differences in quality related characteristics of branded and private label foods actually exist and ultimately to what extent a difference in product composition or sensory perception can be regarded as ‘significant’.

 

The methodology can also be used by any member state which would like to perform testing on its own, on the condition that comparisons of branded/private label products shall involve at least three member states, representing a balanced geographical selection.

 

New rules on voluntary country of origin labelling adopted

May 2018

 

The European Commission has this month published a new implementing regulation on voluntary country of origin labelling. This sets outs rules on how to apply Article 26(3) of the Food Information to Consumers Regulation to indicate the origin of the primary ingredient, when this is different from the origin of the food.

 

Trademarks and protected geographical indications are excluded from the scope of this regulation, pending the adoption of additional specific rules. Customary and generic names are also excluded. The new regulation will apply from 1 April 2020.

 

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775 is available to view online here.


European Commission unveils its 'new deal for consumers'

April 2018

 

The so-called New Deal for Consumers consists of the revision of several EU consumer and marketing directives to guarantee that all European consumers benefit from their rights under the Union law.

 

The package comprises two proposals for directives which are aimed at modernising EU consumer protection rules and improving tools for stopping illegal practices. These would introduce, for example, the possibility to bring collective redress on behalf of a group of consumers that have been harmed by an illegal commercial practice.

 

As expected, one of the proposals includes amendments to the Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices (UCPD) to incorporate ‘dual quality’ (for food and non-food products) as a potential misleading commercial practice.

 

The proposals will be transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council review and adoption is anticipated before the end of the current legislature in May 2019.

 

New ESA infographic on savoury snacks and salt

April 2018

 

The infographic, now available for download from the ESA website, has been developed as a first response to the threat posed by discriminatory salt taxation.

 

The document stresses that savoury snack products are on average very low contributors to salt intake in the European diet and should therefore not be considered as a priority target.

 

The secretariat will use the infographic as a support tool for outreach activities in Brussels. ESA members are also encouraged to use it for all purposes in the context of their respective activities at national level.

 

Major food and drink reformulation initiative announced in Spain

February 2018


The Spanish government and the country's food industry association (FIAB) have presented an ambitious plan to cut the content of sugar, salt and saturated fat in more than 3,500 food and drink products over the next three years.

The initiative called Collaboration Plan for the Improvement of Food and Beverages and Other Measures (2017-2020) has received the voluntary commitment of more than 500 companies and sectors including manufacturers, retailers and caterers to public schools and hospitals. The plan covers 13 food categories including savoury snacks, for which two specific commitments have been made on further reductions on levels of salt and saturated fats in products.

Public consultation on reducing marine litter

February 2018


Earlier this year, as part of its Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, the European Commission launched a consultation to gather stakeholders’ view on how to address the issue of single use plastics and marine litter.

The questionnaire included specific questions on crisps bags as these have been identified amongst the top ten items most commonly found in beach litter. ESA submitted a contribution to the consultation providing general comments on plastics littering and more specific elements in relation to savoury snacks packaging.

Based on this consultation and an ongoing impact assessment, the European Commission will present a legislative proposal before the summer.

Establishment of maximum Levels for total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts

February 2018

 

Despite two-rounds of consultation, there remains a lack of consensus within the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) on proposals regarding the most appropriate maximum levels (MLs) for aflatoxins in ready-to-eat (RTE) peanuts.

Ahead of the 12th session of the CCCF, scheduled to take place in Utrecht, NL, from 12-16 March, the electronic working group led by India presented the conclusions of the previous consultation rounds and its recommendation for an ML of 10 μg/kg for aflatoxins (total) in RTE peanuts. However, two member countries and two member organizations have instead supported a higher ML of 15 μg/kg.

CCCF requested comments on the proposed levels of 10 μg/kg or 15 μg/kg at the beginning of 2018, and the secretariat can of course still submit comments on behalf of members (deadline end of February). The full document can be viewed here.


 

ESA gathers key stakeholders in the European Parliament to discuss EU nutrition policy

23/11/2017


On 22 November 2017, ESA organised a successful and lively panel debate in the European Parliament on the subject of the European Union’s nutrition and health policy. The event was hosted by MEP Renate Sommer, a prominent member of the Committee for Environment, Health and Food Safety.

Arunas Vinčiūnas (Head of Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety), Ilaria Passarani from the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), and Paul Skehan (PepsiCo), exchanged views on several topical issues such as the role of the different stakeholders in addressing the obesity challenge, nutrition labelling in the EU and the integrity of the single market.

Acrylamide regulation published

23/11/2017

The Commission’s new acrylamide regulation has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union as 'Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 of 20 November 2017 establishing mitigation measures and benchmark levels for the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in food'.

The regulation legally obliges food businesses to apply codes of practice (CoP) to help manage acrylamide levels in their finished products. The CoP include requirements on agronomy and storage, recipe design, and process design. They require businesses to regularly test products and ingredients, to trial new mitigation strategies where appropriate and to maintain records to demonstrate use of these controls. The requirements will apply from 11 April 2018.

The Commission has also committed to initiate discussions on the setting of maximum levels (MLs) once the regulation comes into force (20 days after publication). However, it is not clear for which foods if any, that MLs could reasonably be set. Other work includes drafting EU guidance and development of consumer and food business awareness campaigns. Existing Commission recommendations on monitoring for acrylamide will have to be amended or repealed as the current ‘indicative values’ are superseded by the much more challenging ‘benchmark levels’

ESA announces new president

20/06/2017

Valentina Maglio, director for legal affairs and institutional relations for the Italian company Unichips has been elected new president of the European Snacks Association (ESA) following the board meeting that took place in Vienna on Tuesday 20 June. She succeeds Mathias Adank, managing director of Lorenz Snack-World Germany.

A lawyer by training, Valentina Maglio has an extensive experience of the food and drink sector both at national and European level. Before joining Unichips in 2016, she has been working more than 15 years in an international food company and was presiding the European Coffee Federation since 2014.

 

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During her two-year mandate at the helm of ESA, Valentina Maglio intends to further consolidate the position of the sector as a responsible and trustworthy partner regarding health concerns around consumers’ diets:

“Savoury snacks manufacturers have worked very hard over the past years to reformulate their products and continue to bring great flavours to millions of consumers across Europe. We are constantly innovating to meet fast evolving consumers’ preferences and changing lifestyles, be it in terms of taste, portion control or better-for-you options. We have a great story to tell and we will need to make sure our voice is heard in Brussels”.

ESA’s director general, Sebastian Emig, strongly welcomes the board’s decision and looks forward to a fruitful collaboration:

“Valentina has a deep knowledge of the legislative and policy environment impacting food manufacturers and she also knows perfectly how trade associations operate in Brussels. I’m convinced that the combination of these two elements makes her a key asset for ESA and its members”.

ESA launches campaign promoting commitment to healthy and balanced diets - 20/2/2017

 

The ESA secretariat has launched a new campaign, supported by its latest infographic ‘Savoury Snacks - A Sense of Responsibility’. The campaign is being promoted via Euractiv.com, one of the foremost Brussels-based media platforms, and has also been sent directly to stakeholders from the various European institutions.

 

ESA’s objective is to demonstrate how European savoury snack manufacturers have responded to challenges around health, with a focus on the four ESA commitments within the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.

 

The launch of the campaign coincides with the first set of meetings organised by the Maltese presidency of the council on nutrition and health, and the EU Platform meeting scheduled for 9 March.

 

Please visit the infographics section of the ESA website for more information.

 

Euractiv/ESA workshop on positive nutrition - 17/11/2016

Sponsored by ESA, a Euractiv workshop titled ‘What role for positive nutrition in the future?’ took place in Brussels on the 17 November 2016.

 

The aim of the debate was to discuss the concept of positive nutrition and how the food industry is striving to pass the latest innovations onto consumers in order to offer them products with an improved nutritional composition. The event provided a platform for ESA to share its messages on reformulation and innovation to the participants, including representatives from the European institutions.

 

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