Food legislation and food safety – May 2020

29 May 2020

EU: Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), bisphenols (BPA, BPS) and phthalates
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has published a resolution on the 2020 work program of the EC calling for no safe thresholds for exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and a ban on bisphenols and phthalates in FCMs.
FPF reports that EFSA has published a technical report assessing new information on bisphenol-S (BPS). EFSA recommends that data is collected on the use of BPS in plastic FCMs and on its occurrence in and migration into food to determine its potential use as an alternative to BPA.
Chem Trust has published an article emphasising the necessity for a group restriction on bisphenols to prevent regrettable substitutions.

Substances for use in FCMs
Keller and Heckman reports that many of the German BfR recommendations on FCMs were updated in 2019 and published in February 2020. While these recommendations are not legally binding, they are widely respected by industry throughout the EU.
FPF reports that the Japanese government has published a revised version of its positive list (in Japanese) of substances for use in FCMs. Despite a delay in releasing this updated version, the government has said it still plans to enforce the list as originally planned on 1 June 2020.

On behalf of nearly 40 consumer groups, policy makers, academics, food companies and retailers – BEUC has sent an open letter (87 kB) to the EC calling for the nutrition label Nutri-Score to become mandatory in the EU.
Research by Schuttelaar & Partners and WUR shows that the algorithm behind the Nutri-Score needs adaptations to make it better fit for The Netherlands. An article about the research (452 kB) is published in the International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

More labelling
The Polish government has sent draft regulations to the EC to reinforce the written information on the country of origin with an image of the flag of the country in the case of unpackaged fresh, chilled and frozen meat, in response to the current trend where receiving information from an image is preferred to receiving it from a written source.
Researchers at the University of Sheffield call for labelling to warn the public about levels of arsenic in rice, after their research found that half of the rice varieties studied exceeded maximum limits. An article (900 kB) about the research is published in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.
Agri-food and drink products whose names are protected by the EU as “Geographical Indications” (GIs) represent a sales value of €74.76 billion, according to a study (5.79 MB) published by the EC. The study found that the sales value of a product with a protected name is on average double that for similar products without a certification.

NL: Misleading food packaging
According to the Dutch Consumers' Association (in Dutch), some manufacturers are misleading consumers by calling their product wholemeal when only part of the flour used is wholemeal.
Carien de Jager of the University of Groningen (in Dutch) has received a grant from the Gratama Foundation for research into misleading food packaging. In her research she will investigate whether the applicable regulations and case law offer consumers sufficient protection.

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