• French retailer, Casino, recently launched a carbon labelling initiative on a selection of its products. The scheme uses a colour code denoting the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the manufacture of a product’s packaging, the amount of packaging to be recycled and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in transporting the product. The issue of carbon labelling was a central concern of the recent Grenelle de l’Environnement think-tank on French environmental issues so expect more developments in this area.
  • Meanwhile, the Japanese government has announced plans for a voluntary scheme of carbon footprint labels on food packaging and other products in an attempt to persuade Japanese companies and consumers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The labels will appear on food and drink products from next spring, providing detailed breakdowns of each product’s carbon footprint under a government-approved calculation and labelling system that looks at how much carbon dioxide is emitted during the manufacture, distribution and disposal of each product.
  •  Los Angeles City Council recently passed an ordinance prohibiting the construction of any new fast-food restaurants in a 32-square-mile area inhabited by 500,000 people classified as being low income in an attempt to tackle obesity. It does not affect existing restaurants, and will initially impose only a oneyear moratorium. 
  • In light of the rising price of food, EU rules on blemished fruit and vegetables could soon be dropped. The European Commission wants to abandon 26 specific marketing standards, including the ban on bendy cucumbers and misshapen bananas, which under the new proposals could be sold with the label ‘for cooking’. 
  • The European Commission has announced it will start a consultation with stakeholders and member states to increase knowledge and awareness of the potential of nanotechnologies and to ensure adequate protection of nature, environment and health. 
  • The FSA is seeking the views of interested parties on the European Commission’s proposal for a specific regulation on active and intelligent materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. ‘Active food contact materials’ are defined as materials that are intended to extend the shelf-life or to maintain or improve the condition of packaged food. ‘Intelligent food contact materials’ means materials that monitor the conditions of packaged food or the environment surrounding the food. Responses are requested by 17 October 2008.