ESA launches campaign promoting commitment to healthy and balanced diets - 20/2/2017
The ESA secretariat has launched a new campaign, supported by its latest infographic ‘Savoury Snacks - A Sense of Responsibility’. The campaign is being promoted via Euractiv.com, one of the foremost Brussels-based media platforms, and has also been sent directly to stakeholders from the various European institutions.
ESA’s objective is to demonstrate how European savoury snack manufacturers have responded to challenges around health, with a focus on the four ESA commitments within the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.
The launch of the campaign coincides with the first set of meetings organised by the Maltese presidency of the council on nutrition and health, and the EU Platform meeting scheduled for 9 March.
Please visit the infographics section of the ESA website for more information.
Endocrine disruptors: Fourth revision of the criteria - 15/2/2017
The Commission has published its fourth revision of the draft scientific criteria for the determination of endocrine-disrupting properties in the context of the Plant Protection Products Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 and the Biocidal Product Regulation (EU) 528/2012. The European Commission presented the first version of the criteria in 15 June 2016. A set of frequently asked questions is available here.
The criteria endorsed by the commission are based on the World Health Organisation's (WHO) definition of an endocrine disruptor and do not consider potency. In this new revision, the Commission has removed the provision that would have allowed endocrine disruptors (EDs) to be authorised when they only pose a ‘negligible risk’. This version also retains the definition of EDs as substances which ‘may cause’ adverse effects, instead of the ‘known to have’ that was initially proposed.
The revised criteria are expected to be further discussed at the next meeting of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) on 28 February 2017.
Commission publishes Roadmap for pesticides REFIT - 15/2/2017
The Commission has published the Roadmap for the Evaluation and Fitness check of the EU legislation on pesticides, which will examine the Regulations on plant protection products (Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009) and pesticides residues (Reg. (EC) No 396/2005).
The aim of this evaluation is to perform an evidence-based assessment of the implementation of this legislation in all 28 Member States. The review will focus on: the accomplishment of the objectives, the efficacy of the enforcement, the overall effectiveness of the pesticides legislation, and will also examine the procedures for setting, modifying, deleting and reviewing MRLs.
The assessment will include targeted and public consultations and is expected to be completed in November 2018.
Additives: Use of the unauthorised food additive 4-amino-carminic acid (4-ACA)
On 20 January 2017, the Commission sent a letter to inform the food industry that Official Controls have detected high levels of the unauthorised food additive 4-amino-carminic acid (4-ACA) in food products labelled to contain carminic acid (E 120, also known as cochineal or carmines).
The use of E 120 is permitted under EU legislation, but does not specify a limit for 4-ACA, which has been shown to occur naturally as an impurity in E 120.
The Natural Food Colours Association (NATCOL) is working with the Commission on this issue and has proposed a maximum level of 3% 4-ACA as an unintended impurity in E 120 products. This threshold is currently under discussion by the Commission and the Member States.
Customs reclassification of blanched peanuts - impact on import duties
The Harmonized System Committee of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) adopted in October 2016 a technical decision to change the current classification of blanched peanuts from ‘Groundnuts, whether or not shelled or broken (excl. roasted or otherwise cooked)’ (heading 12.02) to ‘Groundnuts, prepared or preserved’ (heading 20.08). If this decision is approved by the Council of the WCO, the current EU import duty rate would change from 0% to 11.2% for blanched peanuts from the main origins.
The European Union and Argentina decided to enter reservations to this decision, largely thanks to the intense communication campaign carried out by ESA, FRUCOM, the American Peanut Council, and the European Nut Association. Australia and Brazil have also submitted reservations.
The technical arguments to support these reservations should be submitted to the WCO before the next WCO Council meeting this summer.
Maximum residue levels of tricyclazole in rice - 10/1/2017
The Commission published on 16th October 2016 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1826 withdrawing the approval of tricyclazole due to concerns relating to the genotoxic and carcinogenic potential of the active substance. Following the non-approval, the Commission has drafted a proposal to reduce the maximum residue level (MRL) of this substance in rice from 1mg/kg to the default level of 0.01mg/kg.
Tricyclazole is fungicide that is widely used as systemic treatment for rice blast in many third countries. Concerns were raised by food supply chain associations – including ESA - over transitional measures as rice is a long shelf life commodity and is also used as an ingredient in products with long shelf lives.
The Commission took account of the comments received and has prepared a new version of the draft proposal on tricyclazole which includes transitional measures. Under this new draft the current MRL of 1mg/kg will continue to apply to all rice, excluding basmati rice, imported or placed on the market before the date of entry into force of this regulation. The Commission aims to have this new regulation enter into force in June 2017.
Euractiv/ESA workshop on positive nutrition - 17/11/2016
Sponsored by ESA, a Euractiv workshop titled ‘What role for positive nutrition in the future?’ took place in Brussels on the 17 November 2016.
The aim of the debate was to discuss the concept of positive nutrition and how the food industry is striving to pass the latest innovations onto consumers in order to offer them products with an improved nutritional composition. The event provided a platform for ESA to share its messages on reformulation and innovation to the participants, including representatives from the European institutions.
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WHO Europe calls on governments to protect children from digital marketing of foods - 04/11/2016
The WHO regional office for Europe has published a comprehensive new report titled ‘tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives’, which calls on policy-makers to protect children from online marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).
The aim of the report is to summarise the evidence on children’s exposure to HFSS food marketing in digital media and demonstrate its persuasive power. The authors identify a lack of effective regulation of digital marketing and call on governments to create statutory regulations in order to protect children.
European Council adopts conclusions on food product improvement - 17/06/2016
On 17 June, the EU Council of Health Ministers adopted its conclusions on food product improvement, which reflect elements of the Dutch Presidency’s roadmap for action agreed in February.
The conclusions call for member states to implement national plans for food improvement by the end of 2017, with progress reports (including best practice and results) shared every two years. They also call on the European Commission to assess existing benchmarks for the reduction of salt and saturated fats, meaning that discussions on a renewed framework initiative could start very soon.
FoodDrinkEurope’s statement supporting the adoption of the conclusions is available to view here.