Food & Nutrition Newsletter – Do you believe in labels?

August means one thing in Europe – quiet. For one month a year, the streets of Paris, Brussels, and Berlin go silent for the summer holiday period. The European Institutions operate with reduced capacity as thousands of policymakers head to the warm beaches of southern Europe – all equipped with their EU digital COVID certificates, of course.

In the meantime, in London things have been louder than usual, with environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion taking to the streets for two weeks of protests calling on the Government to be bolder and faster in its response to climate change, as it prepares to host COP26 in Glasgow. The British Nutritional Foundation may have some solutions, as its new report suggests that switching to a healthier diet may lead to an 80% reduction in one’s carbon footprint. Meanwhile, a majority of British firms are not yet aware of upcoming environmental legislation that might be of impact to them, such as the upcoming UK plastic packaging tax due to be introduced in April 2022.

Back in the continent, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has called on EU leaders to be bolder and faster in ensuring that targets for the reduction of salt, sugar, and fats are met within pre-established timeframes, as new research suggests efforts so far have been modest at best.

You can read this month’s most relevant developments in the food and nutrition space below:

The European Commission sets new maximum levels for cadmium and lead: New limits for lead and cadmium will apply from 30th and 31st August in an effort to reduce the presence of these cancer-causing contaminants in foodstuffs such as wild mushrooms, spices and salt.

Salt, sugar, fats and fibre targets not up to par, say Commission scientists: The Commission’ Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a study which shows that objectives to reduce salt, sugars, saturated fat, and increasing fibre intakes are nowhere near their targets.

The Dutch designate Nutri-Score as food choice logo: On 4th August, the Netherlands notified the Commission that it will endorse the French Nutri-Score system for products’ front-of-pack labelling on nutrition information. It will be a voluntary system, set to be introduced by the first half of 2022 and is intended to help Dutch consumers make healthier food choices.

The verdict is in: the UK’s soft drinks tax works! The IZA Institute of Labor Economics has concluded that the UK’s Soft Drinks tax led to UK residents consuming over 6,500 fewer calories a year.

British Nutrition Foundation goes green: In a new report, the Foundation recognises that switching to a healthier diet can reduce one’s carbon footprint by 80% while still being able to meet nutritional requirements. What’s more, they conclude there is no need to stop eating meat or animal products, something which the Nutrition body does not support.

UK companies not yet aware of upcoming plastic packaging tax:  A study has found that 83% of UK businesses are not aware of the new tax on non-recycled plastic packaging coming into force in Spring 2022. Most surveyed businesses believed that supermarkets and retailers are the ones responsible for reducing the amount of plastic used.

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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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