Food & Nutrition Highlights – February 2021 – MEPs fall for the Farm to Fork Strategy & CBD’s love triangle

In these uncertain times, we hope our readers got to spend Saint Valentine’s Day safely and with their loved ones, or at least with their favourite pint of ice-cream if all this romance stuff doesn’t tickle their fancy.

In Brussels, far from being Europe’s most romantic city, the European Commission did not receive a Valentine’s Day card from the British government. A series of misjudged actions around the EU’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout delays led the Commission to consider introducing a de facto hard border in the island of Ireland, without warning the Irish nor the British governments. Since then, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been getting some tough love from both sides of the Channel.

In the corridors of the European Parliament, MEPs have been snuggling up with the Farm to Fork Strategy and are head over heels with the Commission’s plans to reform the EU food sector – so much so that they tabled over 2,200 amendments to an own-initiative report laying out their views on the future of EU food policy!

Europe’s love affair with CBD continues to develop, though this relationship status is definitely complicated. In the UK, England and Wales will follow the Food Standards Agency’s rules on putting CBD products in the market, while Scotland will follow the rules laid out by its own food safety authority. To throw another hat into the ring, Northern Ireland will abide by EU laws on CBD and follow the bloc’s Novel Food Regulation. We will wait and see how this love triangle evolves.

MEPs share their (many) thoughts on the Farm to Fork Strategy: The European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee will vote on an own-initiative report on the Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy next month. Ahead of the vote, the rapporteurs of the file (the MEPs responsible for handling a legislative proposal drawn up by the European Commission, both procedurally as well as with regard to its substance) received over 2,200 amendments to the text, in a clear display of the different opinions and interests at stake for the future of EU food policy.

The French want to know how green their food is: France has launched a new ‘Eco-Score’ front-of-pack label for food products, which measures the carbon footprint and environmental impact of a product from ‘A to E’.

Czech Republic legislates to prioritise national foodstuffs: A new amendment to the Czech Republic’s food law could see large food retailers being bound to fill their shelves with up to 55% of nationally procured products, in an attempt to support the farming sector and increase food resilience in the country.

CBD products in Northern Ireland must comply with EU law: The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has clarified that UK legislation on CBD will not apply to Northern Ireland. As a result, after the deadline of 31st March, CBD products in NI will be considered unlawful if they are not authorised by the European Commission and have progressed through the full Novel Foods assessment conducted by the European Food Safety Authority.

Irish food businesses’ input needed:  The Irish Food Safety Authority launched a public consultation on Front of Pack Nutrition Labelling, Nutrient Profiles, Origin Labelling and Date Marking. Stakeholders will be able to submit their views until 25th March 2021.

The UK government also wants to hear your views: A new public consultation on the enforcement of the restrictions to the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) has been launched by the UK government’s Department of Health and Social Care. Stakeholders have until 22nd February 2021 to input into the government’s plans.

You can read this month’s developments in more detail on our Food & Nutrition Newsletter.

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If your business needs any support or advice in navigating these policy challenges, or if you have any questions about how these may impact your industry, please do get in touch by contacting Viviana Spaghetti, Director of European Affairs at 

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