France passes food waste law

France’s National Assembly voted through new legislation on Thursday (May 21) that will force large supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity or have it turned into animal feed, compost or energy. The law comes out of a plan by the French government to halve food waste by 2025.

Waste Management, France

UK “can lead the world” in obesity battle, as Tesco commits to cut sugar

A nation “hooked on the white stuff” could become a world leader in the battle against diabetes and obesity, health campaigners have said, as they welcomed Tesco’s move to reduce added sugars by 5% in all of its own-label soft drinks.

Food Safety & Standards, Policy, Health, UK

Chemical industry blocked EU action on EDCs, says NGO

Transparency campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) has accused the chemical industry of blocking EU action on endocrine disruptors and “actors” within the European Commission of being complicit in vetoing restrictions.

Food Safety & Standards, Institutional

COOL costs outweigh benefits, but voluntary labels fine, reports say

The costs of mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL) on milk and dairy products, minor meats, unprocessed foods, single ingredient foods and ingredients making up more than 50% of processed foods would outweigh benefits to consumers, but voluntary labels should be allowed, the European Commission concluded in two long-awaited reports published on 20 May.                                  

Labelling, Country of Origin

Ireland acts against misleading “artisan” claims

The Irish food regulator has published guidance on the use of the terms “artisan”, “farmhouse”, “traditional” and “natural” in marketing material, to avoid misleading consumers. Compliance is expected from December 2016, although companies should act "as soon as possible".

Labelling, Misleading Labels, Health Claims, Food Safety & Standards, Guidelines, Ireland

Commission to “upgrade” EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement

Intellectual property rights will be strengthened as part of an “upgrading” of the EU-Mexico Free Trade Agreement, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström has pledged.

Delays as further work still needed on alcohol labelling report

EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis has admitted that the EU executive is not close to publishing an overdue report on rolling out EU nutrition and ingredient labelling requirements to alcoholic drinks.

Labelling, Health and Nutrition

WTO rules against US COOL scheme again

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body ruled on Monday that the US country of origin labelling programme discriminates against imported cattle and hogs, causing industry groups to beg Congress to repeal the provisions before the two largest export markets impose retaliatory tariffs, Food Chemical News reports.

Labelling, Country of Origin, Americas, United Nations

UK seeks views on South American chia seeds as novel food

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) is seeking views on chia seeds – a herbaceous plant belonging to the mint family - to support its assessment of an application made by Teoli Mexican Speciallity Foods which wants to sell them in the EU.

Food Technology, Novel Foods, Food Safety & Standards, UK

US prepares non-GMO certification and labelling scheme

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has developed a new federal certification and labelling program for foods that do not contain GMOs, a move broadly supported by opponents of mandatory GM food labels, Food Chemical News reports.

Labelling, GM, Food Technology, Genetic Modification, Food Safety & Standards

China’s new food safety law “will be tricky to enforce”

How effective China's recently amended food safety law will be in preventing serious problems in the country’s food supply depends on how well Chinese authorities can enforce it, according to a former FDA official with extensive experience in China, Food Chemical News reports.

Food Safety & Standards, Asia & Middle East

EDC “differences” are normal for scientific debate, says EFSA

The European Food Safety Authority has rebuffed claims of deep divisions between its experts and staff in 2012 over endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Food Safety & Standards, Institutional

Andriukaitis eyes “adjustments” to claims law for nutrient profiles and botanicals

EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis has told EU Agriculture Ministers that he is considering “adjustments” to the 2006 nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR - 1924/2006) for nutrient profiles and botanicals.

Labelling, Health and Nutrition, Health Claims, Regulation, Procedure

EFSA rejects DNA-protecting coffee claim

The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA’s) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) has thrown out a claim for coffee C21 reducing DNA damage by decreasing spontaneous DNA strand breaks.

Health Claims, Decisions

OECD backs alcohol taxes, MUP and advertising restrictions

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has backed taxes, minimum unit prices and advertising restrictions on alcoholic beverages as effective ways of preventing alcohol abuse in a comprehensive new report.

Advertising, Restrictions & Rules, Health, Tax

Slovenian food company cancels membership of advert watchdog

Slovenian food retailer Tus has relinquished its membership in the Slovenian Advertising Chamber (SOZ) following a recent ruling by the SOZ advertising tribunal in favour of rival supermarket chain Mercator, owned by Croatia’s largest agribusiness Agrokor since June 2014.

Advertising, Slovenia

Commission adopts controversial better regulation package

The Commission adopted its controversial ‘Better Regulation’ package of measures on 19 May with the food and other industries generally welcoming the move, while consumer, health and environment groups sounded alarm bells.  Among European Parliament political groups the centre-right European People’s Party and Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe backed the proposal, while the Socialists and Democrats urged caution and the European United Left and Greens expressed outright hostility.

Food Safety & Standards, Legislation, Policy

EU proposes post-stunning monitoring of animals

Abbatoirs will have to monitor animals after stunning them to ensure they don’t wake up before they are killed, under new European Commission proposals. Stunning involves using electricity, gas or force - such as an air gun - to knock the animal out. But none of these methods are 100% efficient, and some animals regain consciousness in their last minutes before death.

Policy, Animal Welfare