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Acrylamide regulatory proposal: status

28/09/2017

The European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on acrylamide was presented to the European Parliament in August, and MEP Elisabeth Köstinger (Austria, EPP) presented the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) with a draft motion for a resolution which opposed its adoption.

Köstinger’s draft motion called on the Commission to submit a new regulation to the ENVI Committee by July 2018; urged the Commission to establish an exemption for SMEs; and suggested that an information and awareness campaign on the presence of acrylamide in certain foodstuffs would be the most effective way of managing the issue.

The ENVI committee discussed and voted on this draft motion on 28 September 2017, however Köstinger was not even present, and a total of 44 MEPs voted against the Draft Motion, with only 10 voting in favour (7 abstentions).

This means that there will be no plenary vote and that the European Parliament will not object the Commission’s draft Regulation. Publication can be expected in November or December 2017.

Commission issues new guidance for authorities to assess ‘dual quality’ of foods

28/09/2017


On 13 September 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker referred to “dual quality” of foods as part of his annual State of the Union. Junker referred to specific examples of branded foods sold in some central and eastern European countries which were believed to be of lower quality than products sold in identical packaging elsewhere in the Union.

Following his speech, the Commission provided further guidance at the end of September to national authorities to support a better implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive where it comes to the issue of dual quality. With a budget of €1 million, the Commission’s Joint Research Centre has been mandated by President Juncker to “develop a methodology to improve food product comparative tests so that member states can discuss this issue on a sound and shared scientific basis that is the same for all.”

FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) calls on the Commission to prevent proliferation of national front of pack labelling schemes

11/09/2017


As previously informed the French government’s recommendation for the national voluntary use of the NutriScore nutrition labelling scheme was notified at EU level under the TRIS procedure on 24 April 2017.

Following this the Commission received comments from several member states highlighting issues with the scheme and the standstill period has now been extended until 25 October 2017.

FDE’s comments on the scheme suggested that any proliferation of national schemes should be avoided as they risk fragmenting the single market and could negatively impact intra-EU trade. FDE also called for a discussion on a coordinated approach to front-of-pack nutrition labelling at EU level, in close consultation and agreement with all stakeholders.

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”.

Endocrine disruptors (EDs): Commission publishes fifth revision of draft criteria

26/05/2017

 

The European Commission has issued a fifth revision of its draft criteria to define EDs in the framework of the pesticides and biocides legislation. This latest revision includes only minor changes. Unfortunately, the possibility to approve a substance if ‘the risk from exposure of the non-target organisms to that substance, under realistic worst case proposed conditions of use, is negligible’ is still absent.

However, the commission has reiterated its decision to work on the criteria and the derogation separately. Once the criteria have been adopted, the commission intends to resume the work on the derogation. The criteria will be tabled at the standing committee meeting on 30 May, however there is no intention to reopen detailed discussions.

 

Import duties: customs reclassification of blanched peanuts

05/05/2017

Following the technical decision adopted by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in October 2016 to change the current classification of blanched peanuts from ‘groundnuts, whether or not shelled or broken (excl. roasted or otherwise cooked)’ (heading 12.02) to ‘groundnuts, prepared or preserved’ (heading 20.08), ESA and FRUCOM have been working jointly to develop technical arguments in order to support the technical reservation submitted by the European Commission.

The document has been now shared with the commission, who will discuss its contents and legal arguments with EU member states. In June, the five WCO members who submitted reservations (EU, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Africa) will meet to agree on common arguments. The classification of blanched peanuts will be discussed at the WCO Council meeting in July 2017, although it is expected that the discussion will be sent back to the harmonized standards committee in September.

 

Front-of-pack labelling: French draft decree lays down NutriScore specifications 25/04/2017

Further to the announcement by the French government about its national recommendation for the voluntary use of the NutriScore nutrition labelling scheme, a draft national decree has been notified to the EU Technical Regulation Information System (TRIS).

The nutritional specifications are detailed in the annex to the draft decree. The criteria apply to all categories of food except cheese, oils and fats, and drinks.

The end of the standstill period is 25 July 2017, meaning that until then the European Commission and member states can react (either by submitting a reasoned opinion or comments). If France receives a reasoned opinion(s), the standstill period will be prolonged and France will in principle need to address the concerns expressed on the technical measure.

 

European Parliament adopts draft report on revision of Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive

25/04/2017

As a reminder, the AVMS Directive sets out the basic rules for TV and video-on-demand advertising. It includes specific provisions on food advertising, as well as advertising to children and self-regulation.

After several weeks of intense discussions, the culture and education committee of the European Parliament voted to maintain a proportionate approach to advertising restrictions. For food and beverage advertising further restrictions were avoided thanks to the adoption of a compromise amendment, which maintains the current support for self- and co-regulatory codes for the advertising of food and beverages high in fat, sugar and salt in children’s programmes.

A proposal by the European Commission to extend the application of these codes to programmes with a significant child audience was rejected, as was an explicit reference to the nutrient profiling model of the WHO regional office for Europe. Restrictions on product placement (currently limited to children’s programmes) are extended to 'content aimed primarily at children' and to user-generated content. The scope of application of the rules governing advertising, sponsorship and product placement were extended to video-sharing platforms.

 

Official controls: new regulation finally published

7/04/2017

The long-awaited Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on official controls, repealing Regulation (EU) 882/2004, was published on 7 April in the Official Journal.

The new regulation will apply mainly from 14 December 2019, with various implementation dates for certain provisions regarding inter alia EU reference laboratories, standardisation of official certificates, and the Information Management System for Official Controls (IMSOC) that will link all existing (and future) computer systems, such as TRACES and RASFF.

More information is available at the updated Commission’s webpage on official controls and the related question and answers document.

 

Front-of-pack (FoP) Labelling: 6 companies announce initiative for evolved colour-coded nutrition label

09/03/2017

On 8 March 2017, 6 major food and drink companies (Coca-Cola, Mars, Mondelez, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Unilever) announced their intentions to develop a colour-coded front-of-pack (FoP) nutrition labelling scheme. The proposed labelling scheme will be based on the colour-coded reference Intakes (RI) scheme (‘traffic light’ scheme), but will use portion sizes rather than content per 100 g/100 ml to determine the colour on the label.

The announcement has received mixed reactions so far. While consumer groups are mostly supportive, the portion approach has been criticised. Meanwhile, some food companies have raised concerns over re-opening the debate on portion sizes and nutrient profiles.

The signatories of the initiative have committed to set up a taskforce to further consider the details, which ESA will join.


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.

 

 

Commission publishes Roadmap for pesticides REFIT - 15/2/2017

 

The Commission has published the Roadmap for the Evaluation and Fitness check of the EU legislation on pesticides, which will examine the Regulations on plant protection products (Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009) and pesticides residues (Reg. (EC) No 396/2005).

 

The aim of this evaluation is to perform an evidence-based assessment of the implementation of this legislation in all 28 member states. The review will focus on: the accomplishment of the objectives, the efficacy of the enforcement, the overall effectiveness of the pesticides legislation, and will also examine the procedures for setting, modifying, deleting and reviewing MRLs.

 

The assessment will include targeted and public consultations and is expected to be completed in November 2018.

 

 

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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WHO Europe calls on governments to protect children from digital marketing of foods - 04/11/2016

The WHO regional office for Europe has published a comprehensive new report titled ‘tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives’, which calls on policy-makers to protect children from online marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).

 

The aim of the report is to summarise the evidence on children’s exposure to HFSS food marketing in digital media and demonstrate its persuasive power. The authors identify a lack of effective regulation of digital marketing and call on governments to create statutory regulations in order to protect children.

 

 

European Council adopts conclusions on food product improvement - 17/06/2016
On 17 June, the EU Council of Health Ministers adopted its conclusions on food product improvement, which reflect elements of the Dutch Presidency’s roadmap for action agreed in February.

The conclusions call for member states to implement national plans for food improvement by the end of 2017, with progress reports (including best practice and results) shared every two years. They also call on the European Commission to assess existing benchmarks for the reduction of salt and saturated fats, meaning that discussions on a renewed framework initiative could start very soon.

FoodDrinkEurope’s statement supporting the adoption of the conclusions is available to view here.


 


 
 
 
 
 
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