Obesity battle commences: In what is likely to be a prelude to further unappetising ideas for the food sector when the Childhood Obesity Strategy is finally published, the budget announced the introduction of a soft drinks levy from April 2018. It will apply to products containing over 5g per 100g of sugar and with a higher levy rate applying to products with over 8g per 100ml sugar. Reactions to the announcement have been swift. View > Public Health England >  Childrens Food Campaign > Sustain > British Heart Foundation > Food Standards Scotland > Local Government Association > Food and Drink Federation >  The Local Government Association has renewed its call for powers for Local Authorities to ban ‘junk food’ advertising near schools and children’s centres. View >

20% food and drink waste reduction by 2025: The DEFRA Waste and Resources Action plan has launched a new ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse emissions and waste in the food sector by 20% by 2025.  The Food Standards Agency are represented on the steering board for the initiative which has received immediate endorsement from food, licensed trade and retail organisations. View > British Beer and Pub Association > Food and Drink Federation > Food Standards Agency >

Call for Licensing Act changes: The Local Government Association has called for the power to set licensing fees locally to ensure costs are recovered and also for Public Health to be included as a licensing objective following a report by the Institute of Alcohol Studies.  View >

Rating of takeaway menus: The Welsh Government has claimed the number of premises achieving 5* ratings under the Food Hygiene Rating scheme has gone up from 32% to 60% since 2012 and highlighted the mandatory display requirement on takeaway menus from 1 November. View >

Recommendations on minimum wage accepted: The Government has accepted recommendations by the Low Pay Commission for rates to apply from October 2016.  The Low Pay Commission has published its annual report including an assessment of the impact of the National Living Wage. View > View >

Are you ready for the new Grocery Regulations in Ireland? Read our guide >

New ASAI Code effective from 1 March 2016:  The new Code is the result of a comprehensive review undertaken by the ASAI which involved a significant public consultation process with a wide range of Government departments and agencies, consultations with consumer groups and other NGOs, and consultation with the advertising industry including advertisers, agencies and the media: View >

EU technical regulation:

EU timber regulation: DEFRA and the National Measurement and Regulation Office have published detailed guidance on what is required and appeals mechanism. View >