As September commenced, policymakers were back at their desks and are going ahead full steam.
This month, the UK has been chosen to lead the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s new Sugar and Calorie Reduction Network to address increasing levels of obesity through a reduction of sugar and calorie in food and drink products across Europe. The UK government presented new initiatives on gene editing. Furthermore, the Scottish Government has further delayed the restrictions to the marketing of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS).
In Brussels, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered the annual State of the Union speech outlining flagship initiatives which the Commission plans to undertake in the coming year, but left out agri-food issues. The Czech Republic and Italy continue to voice concerns about Nutri-Score as a new EU mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labelling (FOPNL) system, while the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deems the scheme to be superior to the others. Meanwhile, the French Ministry of Health called on industry for evidence. Among European industry, three food and drink associations pressed for clarity on labelling requirements for vegetarian and vegan food and the Commission launched a two-year campaign aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle across generations and social groups in the EU.
You can read this month’s most relevant developments in the food and nutrition space below:
Czechs and Italians voice opposition to Nutri-Score – The Czech Agricultural Ministry has opposed the Nutri-Score, arguing that the system is not fit to reflect the unique characteristics and quality of traditional foods. Similarly, Italy’s Minister of Agriculture has also criticised the system.
Nutri-Score: International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) endorsement & French call on industry for evidence – In contrast, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) argued that the latest scientific evidence supports the Nutri-Score as the “superior” front-of-pack nutrition label, while a French Ministry called for evidence from industry stakeholders across Europe regarding a possible update of the algorithms used to calculate the nutritional ratings determined by this scheme.
Food policy not on Commission President von der Leyen’s State of the Union policy plate – Commission President Von der Leyen outlined flagship initiatives which the Commission plans to undertake in the coming year, but has left stakeholders questioning why agri-food was not addressed.
European food and drink associations press for clarity on labelling requirements for vegetarian and vegan food – FoodDrinkEurope, EuroCommerce and the European Vegetable Union have co-signed a joint statement urging the European Commission to introduce legislation providing a legally binding definition for the terms “food suitable for vegans” and “food suitable for vegetarians”.
Europe-wide initiative to reduce sugar and calorie intake launch approaching – The UK has been selected to take the lead in the WHO’s new Sugar and Calorie Reduction Network, which is due to be launched in Spring 2022.
Scottish Government further delays the restrictions to marketing of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) – In Scotland, the government has announced that legislation on restricting the marketing on HFSS is further delayed, pushing the legislation to 2023 at the earliest.
European Commission launches “Healthy Lifestyle 4 All” initiative – This month, the European Commission has launched its campaign to promote healthy and active lifestyles among Europeans.
London and Brussels look at gene editing – the UK set out plans to enable the use of gene editing technologies, while the European Commission opened a public consultation to gather views on if and how it should develop a legislative framework related to gene editing.
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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