January - Food News Roundup

1. Trade & Cooperation Agreement Update

The paperwork struggles continue to be widely reported by UK media. The extra checks and paperwork are described as ‘teething problems’ by the UK government but issues in relation to Rules of Origin (RoO), what constitutes substantive transformation and tariff levels remain very much a matter of interpretation in a great many areas. Additionally, for food and agri-products the additional paperwork, rules of entry and sanitary and phytosanitary checks have caused widespread delay and additional costs.

2. Covid Business Interruption

The Supreme Court has substantially allowed the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) appeal on behalf of policyholders. This completes the legal process for impacted policies and means that many thousands of policyholders will now have their claims for coronavirus-related business interruption losses paid. Please see here for more information. 

3. Obesity Strategy

The UK Obesity Strategy has rolled out since last summer.  A handy summary can be viewed here.

The latest consultation published at end of December closes on 22 February.  Restrictions will only apply to prepacked food and drink that is determined to be high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) as defined by the 2004/2005 nutrient profiling model.

Draft legislation is proposed to restrict the promotion of multibuy HFSS products as well as HFSS products in store entrances, aisle ends and checkouts for stores over 185.8 square metres (2,000 square feet) and in the equivalent locations online. Online restrictions will include entry pages of retailer’s website or grocery page, landing pages when the customer is browsing other categories of food and pages where customers view their shopping basket or proceed to payment.

4. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Roundup January ASA round-up: Treatment of diseases

In the Manuka Honey adjudication, the complaint that references throughout the ad to honey as a treatment for coughs and to its “anti-microbial” properties, stated or implied that a food prevented, treated or cured human disease was upheld.  It was  acknowledged that the public health body Public Health England recommended using honey as a first approach to relieving coughs. The Advertising Code, however, prohibited advertisers from stating or implying that a food prevented, treated or cured human disease in any circumstance.  Additionally, the ad’s claim “anti-microbial” was a claim that a food could prevent or treat human disease. 

Of particular interest was that the ASA sought a view from the Food Standards and Information Focus Group. Members of the group included enforcement officers from local authorities and membership consisted of representatives from the regional food enforcement groups, Primary Authority supermarkets group and Chartered Trading Standards Institute. In addition the group included invited policy officials as observers from the FSA, DHSC, Defra and Regulatory Delivery as well as representatives from the Association of Public Analysts, the ASA and the Business Expert (Food Standards and Labelling) Group.

There is the further reminder to ensure adequate substantiation to all the voluntary claims made re UV purification and eradicating bacteria

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