Food and Agri Update Mid-End of August 2023

Extended Producer Responsibility – new Report Packaging Data (RPD) service launched by Defra

Defra launched a new Report Packaging Data (RPD) service on 16 August Report packaging data - GOV.UK (  It has also launched a consultation with industry into the “clarity and operability” of the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme.

What is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a new UK legislation that will replace the current Packaging Waste Regulations with a phased implementation from 2023. It is an environmental policy that requires producers to pay the full costs of dealing with the waste they produce from when it is placed onto the market, through to the end of its life.

All large producers and compliance schemes working on behalf of companies are required to start reporting their packaging data to regulators across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, by October this year.

Fees Delayed

This month it was reported EPR for packaging fees have been deferred for 1 year. Fees that were starting in October 2024 will now start in October 2025.

Whilst the fees have been delayed, the data collection requirements are still currently set to come into force as planned, alongside the existing PRN data requirements. (Packaging Waste Recovery Notes (PRNs), are issued by Accredited Reprocessors to represent the tonnage of packaging waste they have recycled to a required standard.)

Are you affected?

To assist producers in understanding whether they are obligated under Extended Producer Responsibility, DEFRA has developed an online EPR Obligation Checker. This interactive tool will help you access whether you meet the requirements.

In order to use the tool, you will need to know your annual turnover, how your organisation handles and supplies packaging, and the total weight (in tonnes) of packaging you handled and supplied in 2022.

What actions need to be taken under EPR?

Defra sets out here who is affected and what to do here: Extended producer responsibility for packaging: who is affected and what to do - GOV.UK (


National Risk Register highlights food supply contamination threat

The National Risk Register outlines the most serious risks facing the United Kingdom National Risk Register 2023 - GOV.UK (

The NRR contains 89 threats that have been identified as having the potential to significantly impact the UK's safety, security, or critical systems at a national level. These threats include terrorism, cyber- attacks, state threats, pandemics, wildfires, and industrial action.  It also mentioned the likelihood and impact of contamination of the food supply in the United Kingdom.

The UK government rated food supply contamination as four out of five for likelihood and three out of five for impact in the NRR. This means the likelihood of food supply contamination is considered as being between 5 percent and 25 percent and its impact would be “moderate” on a scale that ranges from “minor” to “catastrophic.”

Supply chain due diligence

On an individual basis food business operators should undertake risk assessment and due diligence of their supply chains to mitigate risk wherever possible.  Appropriate risk assessments and supplier audits alongside business continuity planning and crisis management policies should form part of a companies’ food safety processes.

ASA Advertising Standards Authority Rulings

Infant Formula

Boots UK Ltd t/a

  • Upheld
  • Search (paid)
  • 23 August 2023

Four paid-for Google ads for Boots breached our rules by promoting infant formula.

In the UK, promotions for baby formula for use from birth up to six months are prohibited in The Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula (England) Regulations 2007 to ensure they do not discourage breastfeeding.

Retailer Iceland defied the policy this month to make customers aware it was cutting the price of formula milk by more than 20%.

Metro newspaper also has its’ campaign Formula for Change in partnership with charity Feed against the unintended consequences of this restriction on promotions meaning the price of formula has increased over the years. 

The Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG), which represents a collection of campaign groups and nutritionists, has recommended supermarkets introduce more own-label lines of infant formula as a way of reducing baby formula prices, alternatively that a cap on prices is introduced.

Baby formula is one of the ten categories currently being looked at by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) during the next stage of its ongoing investigation into profiteering within the grocery supply chain.


A TV ad for Camden Town Brewery was of strong appeal to people under 18 years of age as it featured animated characters in a fun and engaging way that would appeal to a younger audience. 

Although the ad the ad had a broadcast restriction to keep it away from under-18 audiences. The BCAP Code also required that, in addition to appropriate targeting, alcohol ads must not be likely to appeal strongly to people under 18 years of age, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture or showing adolescent or juvenile behaviour. It also required that they must not include a person or character whose example was likely to be followed by those aged under 18 years or who had a strong appeal to those aged under 18. 

The colours were bold and striking, so that younger viewers were likely to find that imagery engaging. The character was dragged through a beer pipe and taken on a journey through a fantastical-looking world with surreal background characters and a beer river. The ASA considered that those features would be seen as fun and engaging, and likely to appeal to a younger audience.  The beer guide character was also brightly coloured, looked amiable and friendly, and could be said to resemble a make-believe character in a children’s book or TV programme. The ASA therefore considered that its appearance was likely to appeal to under 18s.

Whyte and Mackay Ltd t/a Whyte and Mackay

  • Not upheld
  • Television, VOD
  • 16 August 2023

A TV ad and Video on Demand (VOD) ad for a whisky company was unlikely to appeal strongly to people aged under 18.

The ASA acknowledged that the imagery of beavers rhythmically chopping and chomping on logs, together with the lively music featured in the ad, had an unusual and whimsical element, and therefore could appeal to some under-18s. However, they considered the overall tone and aesthetic of the ad was predominantly realistic and did not have a humorous or slapstick element to its depiction of the characters. The beavers were shown in their natural environment, against a dark, gloomy colour scheme. Their teeth and claws were clearly visible, which the ASA considered gave an unappealing element to the beavers that would not be attractive to under-18s. While it was apparent that the characters were not real animals, they were not cartoon-like.

  • Au Vodka Ltd
    • Upheld
    • Social media (own site)
    • 23 August 2023

Three Instagram posts by Au Vodka irresponsibly referred to aggressive behaviour, linked alcohol with illicit drugs and tough and daring behaviour.

Also this week, Au Vodka was found in breach of The Portman Group’s guidelines over a piece of branded merchandise in the shape of a gun.  The body’s independent panel found the product “created an indirect association with violent and aggressive behaviour” because of its similar appearance to that of a real firearm.

Au Vodka, a diruptor brand, has the second ASA complaint upheld this month and has responded “Our target consumers understood the intention behind our campaign ads – the ads were very well received, with no direct consumer complaints having been made”. 

Diageo Great Britain Ltd t/a Diageo

  • Not upheld
  • Television
  • 16 August 2023

A TV ad for a gin company did not imply the success of a social occasion depended on the presence or consumption of alcohol or portray alcohol as capable of changing moods. 

The lines “Add a dash of fabulous” and “… squeeze the afternoon” suggested alcohol was being introduced to the social events, all those who were depicted in groups were socialising and smiling before alcohol was introduced into the scene. The ASA considered those lines in the ad did not imply that the success of the various social events depended on the presence of alcohol, and nor did they portray alcohol as capable of changing mood. Similarly, we considered the line “Let’s Live Magnificently” did not imply the social events depicted in the ad were successful or ‘magnificent’ because of the presence or consumption of alcohol. There was no indication that the mood of those present had been changed by the presence of alcohol, nor that the introduction of alcohol was what allowed them to “live magnificently” where they had not done so previously.

Rebel Wine Ltd

  • Upheld
  • Social media (own site)
  • 23 August 2023

‘Skinny’ was held by the ASA to constitute a weight loss or maintenance claim.

The only permitted nutrition claims that could be made in relation to alcohol were “low-alcohol”, “reduced alcohol” and “reduced energy”.

Rebel Wine Ltd said “Skinny Rebel” was a brand name and registered trademark for their range of wine spritzers.

Rebel Wine believed ‘skinny’ would be understood either as a reduced alcohol claim or reduced energy claim.

The ASA did not consider that consumers would interpret the term ‘skinny’ as being related to the alcoholic strength of the product. 

The ASA noted Rebel Wine’s belief that ‘skinny’ would be understood as a reduced energy comparative nutrition claim. ‘Reduced energy’ claims were permitted to be made in relation to alcohol. To use that claim in their advertising Rebel Wine would need to have provided information to show products from the “Skinny Rebel” range had at least 30% less energy than other similar products. However, they had not provided any information to show that. The ASA therefore considered that even if the claim was interpreted as a reduced energy comparative nutrition claim, the claim would have breached the Code because Rebel Wine did not hold evidence to show that the products met the conditions of use for that claim.

The ASA in fact considered consumers would interpret the claim “Skinny Rebel” as a weight loss or maintenance claim, the ASA therefore considered this a health claim.

The CAP Code stated that marketing communications for alcohol must not make any health, fitness or weight-control claims. Health claims were defined as those that stated, suggested or implied a relationship between a food or ingredient, and health.

The  ASA acknowledged the brand name “Skinny Rebel” was a registered trademark. However, trademarked names still had to comply with the Code. Because the name was used for a range of wine spritzer cocktails, and it was not permitted to make health or weight-control claims for alcoholic products, the trademarked name breached the Code.

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Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

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