May is a month of reinvention. Across Europe, people begin to look forward to the summer, one that with easing lockdown restrictions across the continent should feel closer to normality. May is the month for new wardrobes, new plans, and indeed, new political direction.
This month the UK saw the State Opening of Parliament ceremony, marking the start of the parliamentary year with the Queen’s speech. This year, Her Majesty’s Government reiterated its commitment to restricting foods high in fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS), through marketing restrictions and other measures that could be brought forward as part of the Health and Care Bill. Greenwashing is another area the government wants to tackle, tasking the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) with the drafting of guidelines to ensure companies are accurately reporting the environmental footprint of their products.
Internationally, the World Health Organisation has also taken this time for reinvention as it updated its salt consumption recommendations, now set at less than 5g of salt a day for adults.
In the EU, NGOs from across the Member States have raised warnings over the presence of PFAS – a highly persistent and potentially harmful chemical – in disposable food packaging used by fast food companies, in an effort to raise pressure on the EU to legislate against the use of the oil repellent as part of its chemicals and food contact materials legislation overhauls.
Lastly, and as we mark two years since the latest European elections and the appointment of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, we take a look at Ms von der Leyen’s flagship policy, the European Green Deal, and how it has impacted businesses trends in the food and drink sectors.
You can read this month’s most relevant developments in the food and nutrition space below:
Hands off the saltshaker! The World Health Organisation has revised its recommendation on salt consumption and reduction. WHO Member States have pledge to reduce the global population’s intake of salt by a relative 30% by 2025, and recommend adults keep their salt consumption below 5g per day.
No HFSS for the Queen: During the Queen’s speech on 11th May, the British Sovereign announced Government plans to put forward a Health and Care Bill. The Bill foresees to restrict the promotions on HFSS food by April 2022, for instance through a ban of junk food advertisements before 9:00 pm on television, and a total ban on online adverts.
The Brits love CBD: The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) reported that the demand for CBD products has soared during lockdown, making the UK’s CBD market is the second-largest in the world behind the US.
UK government begins crackdown on greenwashing: The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has published draft guidance on the use of environmental claims for goods and services, which are open for feedback from stakeholders. The organisation aims to help businesses in ensuring their eco claims are backed by evidence and facts.
There’s some PFAS on your burger: A group of European NGOs have conducted a study that found PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) continuing to be widely used in disposable food packaging and tableware in Europe. PFAS chemicals have been identified as being extremely persistent in the environment, and potentially leading to severe adverse health effects, including cancer.
Consumers call for science-based Nutri-score reviews: The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has called on the EU governments that have adopted the Nutri-score to ensure any future update of the label is based on science and not commercial interests.
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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 Viviana.Spaghetti@whitehousecomms.com