Current issues

European Commission requests feedback on implementing regulation for country of origin labelling of primary ingredients:

The draft regulation requires products where country of origin is indicated or implied to identify on the label when the primary ingredient is from a different country. The primary ingredient is one that represents more than 50% of the food or is associated with the name of the food by the consumer.

Champagne sorbet:

The CJEU has ruled against France’s champagne industry lobbying group (CIVIC) and concluded that Aldi could use the name “champagne” for its sorbet, providing it had “as one of its essential characteristics, a taste attributable primarily to champagne“. The sorbet contained 12% champagne but the CJEU ruled that while the quantity of champagne was significant, it was not of itself a determinative factor. The CIVIC had argued that Aldi was benefitting from the quality and prestige attached to the name and had infringed its Protected Designation of Origin.

The Acrylamide Regulation:

From April 2018, all food businesses that produce or place on the market certain foods, including: french fries, potato crisps, bread, breakfast cereals, biscuits and crackers, coffee, and some baby foods, will need to take the steps specified in the Regulation to mitigate acrylamide formation. This follows a scientific assessment that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups.

Glyphosate renewed:

In November 2017, Member States voted in favour of a European Commission proposal to renew the controversial pesticide glyphosate for a further five years, following a scientific assessment that concluded that there was no causal link with cancer in humans. In response to a European Citizens’ Initiative on the subject, the Commission has agreed to put forward a legislative proposal in spring 2018 to ensure greater transparency of scientific assessments (in particular that scientific studies are publicly available) and to review the governance of EFSA.

National Food Crime Unit:

The Food Standards Agency is keen to secure funding to expand the remit of the National Food Crime Unit to include investigative powers as envisaged in the Elliott and Kenworthy reviews. The Ministerial Group on Food Crime is due to share its views on this in January 2018.

Food hygiene rating scheme:

Professor Poppy published his report in December 2017 identifying the benefits and improved hygiene standards since the introduction of the food hygiene rating scheme. This is particularly so in Wales and Northern Ireland, where it is mandatory to display ratings, and the FSA intends to make the scheme mandatory in England as well.

Updated guide to protecting and defending food and drink from deliberate attack:

The Publicly-Available Specification provides guidance on the avoidance and mitigation of threats to food and food supply through a risk management methodology known as TACCP (Threat Assessment Critical Control Points). The updated standard looks in particular at the threat from the misuse of digital techniques.

Dates for the diary

1 January 2018 Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 on novel foods is in effect.
January 2018 Report due to be be published by the European Commission on the Fitness Check of General Food Law, to review the legislation currently in place. A consultation will also be launched to feed into the preparation of a proposal to be submitted in spring 2018.
1 February 2018 Feedback period closes on draft regulation regarding country of origin labelling for primary ingredient of a food.
April 2018 EU Acrylamide Regulation (Reg 2017/2158) takes effect. UK guidance for the catering and food service industry expected in early 2018.