While you were out pumpkin picking, policymakers in Brussels and London spent the month of October carving out the future of the food and nutrition sector, not least as COP26 is fast approaching. Boo!
With the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions (it may not last long!), Members of the European Parliament embarked on their monthly excursion to the French town of Strasbourg to vote and adopt a report on the Farm to Fork (F2F) Strategy, setting out the institutions’ position on the key policies that will seek to ensure the EU’s food sector is an effective contributor to the energy transition and the European Green Deal.
Meanwhile, the European Commissioners for Health and Food Safety, Agriculture, and the European Green Deal, got together in Brussels for the second annual Farm to Fork Conference, where progress towards the sustainable transition of the EU’s food sector was praised. Ursula von der Leyen’s former colleague, the German cabinet minister for Agriculture Julia Klöckner, also startled the Commission earlier this month when she called on the institution to be more consistent when negotiating trade deals’ sustainability standards.
In London, new changes to allergen labelling have entered into effect this month, bringing new requirements to food businesses across the UK. In the new budget, the British Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced £112.9 million of funding by 2024-25 for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to deliver an effective food regulatory regime, giving confidence to consumers, businesses and the UK’s trading partners, including through its expanded role following EU Exit. Speaking of which, products of animal origin crossing the English Channel will also see new requirements come into place, as part of the UK’s new trade relationship with the EU. Also, the UK government has been urged to make colour-coded front-of-pack nutrition labels (FOPNL) mandatory.
You can read this month’s most relevant developments in the food and nutrition space below:
European Parliament crunches on F2F report – Following months of intense talks, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have adopted their own-initiative report on the F2F in plenary with 452 votes in favour, 170 against and 76 abstentions.
European Commission hosts second F2F Conference – Earlier this month, the European Commission held its second annual conference to discuss the progress achieved in the F2F Strategy. Commissioners for Health and Food Safety, Agriculture, and the European Green Deal, reiterated that the Commission is on track with the Strategy and urged food companies to do more on sustainability.
German Agriculture Minister calls for consistency in trade sustainability standards – Julia Klöckner, the Minister of Agriculture for Germany, has urged the Commission to be more consistent on pushing for adherence to sustainability standards when it negotiates future free trade agreements.
New calls for a mandatory colour coded FOPNL scheme in UK –An academic group concerned with salt and sugar, and their effects on health, has called on the UK government to make colour-coded FOPNL mandatory across the UK.
Brexit means… new requirements for foods of animal origin – On 1st October, new border controls entered into force for animals and products of animal origin arriving in Great Britain, now requiring pre-notification and the relevant health certificates.
How many allergies can you count? Natasha’s Law has come into effect this month, bringing changes to UK allergen labelling. New requirements for businesses include the need to label all food that is prepacked for direct sale with a full list of ingredients, listing 14 major allergens.
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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