• The US has continued to criticise the ‘endorsement’ by Codex, the World Health Organization’s food standards commission, of analytical methods for detecting biotech foods at a recent meeting of the Codex committee on methods of analysis and sampling. A document was published last year on criteria for guidelines for biotech detection methods, which contained considerable information on ‘method endorsement’, despite objections from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand at the time. US delegates are now questioning what ‘endorsement’ actually means and argue that it is inappropriate for a guidelines document to focus on endorsing detection methods for biotech foods when there is no actual Codex standard to meet.  
  • The US FDA is to update guidance documents for food and colour additives and nutritional supplements to take into account developments in nanotechnology but does not think new regulations are required yet. Two food packaging guideline documents are being updated and a new guide dealing with manufacturing food and colour additives and dietary supplements is being written. Guidance for the early-stage manufacturing of nanotech food packaging materials, outlining the potential applications of such materials and the need for a comprehensible regulatory system for these products, is also being produced.  
  • Health Canada recently published a report in the Canada Gazette concluding that acrylamide ‘may constitute a danger… to human life or health’ and that it should be added to the toxic substance list, despite inconclusive evidence drawn from animal experiments. Health Canada’s recommendation follows extensive research into the chemical and its classification by other health agencies on the basis of its carcinogenic, genotoxic and reproductive toxic qualities.  
  • A European food, sustainable consumption and production round table will convene at the end of April with the main aim of ‘facilitat[ing] agreement on uniform and reliable environmental assessment methodologies for food products’ and, in particular, on a methodology for assessing ‘food miles’. It has been suggested that the current diversity of methodologies is confusing and misleading to consumers and that an industry standard would improve consumer trust and stimulate real improvement in environmental impact.  
  • Manufacturers that use lycopene as a novel food ingredient will have to establish a monitoring programme so that the EFSA can review lycopene usage and intake by consumers by 2014. The Standing Committee for the Food Chain and Animal Health has authorised specified forms of lycopene for use in certain food products up to a maximum level for each type of product. However the committee recently voted through the decision because the EFSA is concerned that consumers could overdose on lycopene if it is used to fortify too many types of foods in too large quantities.  
  • The High Court of England and Wales has upheld a decision by the UK FSA that stocks of low-alcohol wine be held at a warehouse rather than sold. The decision, which took the form of a movement control notice made in September 2007, was made because the wine had been produced using an unauthorised method and failed to comply with FSA labelling rules.