Food legislation and food safety – February 2020

03 March 2020

EU: Origin labelling of the primary ingredient of a food as of 1 April 2020
Article 26(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 requires that where the origin of a food is given and is different from the one of its primary ingredient, the origin of the primary ingredient shall be given or at least indicated as being different to the origin of the food. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/775 clarifies how the information on the origin of the primary ingredient should be displayed on labels. The new rules are applicable as of 1 April 2020. In January 2020, the EC published a notice to assist all players in the food chain as well as the competent national authorities to better understand and correctly apply the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 related to the origin indication of the primary ingredient. More EC information about labelling can be found here and in a booklet on food labelling (in Dutch), recently published by the NVWA.

More (draft) rules and regulations
World: The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) has announced that symbols or written age restrictions will be added to labels on alcohol drinks produced by its members, sending an even clearer message that these products are not for minors. EU: EFSA has assessed the safety of DEHCH for use as a plasticizer in PVC for FCMs. Denmark: A draft Order has been sent to the EC prohibiting PFAS in paper and paperboard FCMs. The provisions are to become effective on 1 July 2020. NL: In December 2019, the Food Labelling Action Plan 2020 (in Dutch) was sent to the House of Representatives. In the accompanying letter (in Dutch), the Minister indicates that he will continue his efforts on misleading labelling in the coming period. Research (in Dutch) by the NVWA (in Dutch) shows that infant formulae labeling complies better with the legal rules compared to 2015. US: FPF reports that the “Prevent Future American Sickness Act” (S 3227), has been introduced to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, to deem all PFAS unsafe for use in FCM. FPF also reports that the state of Washington has published a draft report identifying a first set of nine priority products under its safer products program. Of these products, FCM-related entries include food cans and printing inks.

Exposure to phthalates, nanomaterials, BPA and BPS
RIVM has developed a method that clarifies the developments (known as signals) relating to nanomaterials in food which policymakers first have to assess for possible health risks. Along with the method, RIVM elaborates on six of these signals in a recent report (1.44 MB). Scientists at Columbia University have uncovered a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and deficits in motor function in girls. An article (1.12 MB) about the research is published in Environment International. BPA replacement BPS hinders the heart function, according to a new University of Guelph study published in Nature Scientific Reports (2.06 MB). A Washington State University study, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (370 kB), finds that BPA levels in humans are dramatically underestimated.

Consumer understanding of front of pack labelling and THC numbers
A recent IGD article looks at front of pack labelling around the world. It includes traffic light labelling, Nutri-Score, Nordic Keyhole and stop-sign warnings. A recently published IGD report (2.23 MB) looks at how UK shoppers feel about front of pack nutrition labelling, how well they understand it and use it alongside health claims to make purchasing decisions. Few cannabis consumers understand what the THC numbers on packages of cannabis edibles really mean, according to a new University of Waterloo study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence (904 kB). THC numbers are used to indicate the potency of cannabis products.

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