Food & Agri Update - 4 Nov

Food most targeted in supply chain thefts

A BSI report surveying global supply chain risks between 2021 and 2022 has identified food and fuel as top commodities involved in supply chain thefts. supply-chain-risk-insights-report-2023.pdf (

Vet strike offers potential supply disruption

As reported in Farmer’s Weekly, ongoing vet strikes in Northern Ireland are impacting the food supply chain, with some abattoirs having to cease operations in the short term.

As well as slaughter operations being stopped at some sites, the significant lack of vets means live animal exports have been suspended for the week, and checks on food imports and exports are being disrupted.

Protests and picket lines are in place at a number of locations throughout Northern Ireland, including at Belfast port.

The poultry sector has been prioritised for the remaining vets; however, all livestock sectors are being impacted and some businesses have already forecast disruption to beef supplies from NI to England.  Major supply chain disruption as NI vets strike takes effect - Farmers Weekly (

Mills & Reeve Food Supply Webinar

Mills & Reeve Food Supply Webinar will take place this Tuesday 10-10.45am.

In recent years, almost all sectors have in some way suffered from the global supply chain crisis, but perhaps none more so than the food and agricultural sector. From delayed deliveries, to higher prices, to empty shelves in supermarkets, vulnerabilities in the supply chain have rarely been out of the press. 

Whether the cause is Brexit, the pandemic, crop failures, labour shortages, the War in Ukraine, energy price increases, or any combination of those factors, the impact on businesses has been significant and disruption is likely to continue for some time. 

Our legal experts will guide you through some practical steps to consider

Please register here Food and Agribusiness: How to weather the crisis – practical steps for dealing with supply chain issues | Legal event | Mills & Reeve (

CBD Update

The Grocer has reported Holland & Barrett reinstates CBD products following sale pause | News | The Grocer Holland & Barrett has ended the temporary pause on the sale of certain CBD products after the FSA's reduced daily limit advisory. 

The right decision as called out in this Mills & Reeve article Confusion continues for the CBD Market - Mills & Reeve ( that also provides an overview on the confusion that has dogged the CBD food market to date.

Defra Egg Consultation

Defra is consulting on fairness in the egg supply chain. This builds on the reviews underway using powers under s.29 Agriculture Act 2020 to improve transparency and fair contractual dealing in the dairy and pig sectors.

The chicken egg sector has faced numerous significant challenges over the last several years that have impacted egg supplies. Global impacts have resulted in input costs for feed and energy rising significantly at the same time as the sector has dealt with the impacts of the unprecedented Avian Influenza outbreak. Industry has reported that the population of laying hens in the UK, which was 43 million in 2021, fell to 38 million in 2022.

UK consumers have driven demand for free-range eggs. As a result, in 2022, over 60% of the eggs produced in the UK were free range (see quarterly UK statistics about eggs to June 2023). Further changes are likely to come to the sector in coming years, with major UK retailers committing to phase out eggs produced by caged hens by 2025.

Consultation closes 22 December Contractual relationships in the UK egg industry - Defra - Citizen Space

Wholemeal and 50/50 labelling battle continues

Bakery brands using the word ‘wholemeal’ to market their 50/50 loaves could be forced to relabel products, according to Defra and the Grocer. ‘Wholemeal’ 50/50 loaves may be instructed to relabel | News | The Grocer

A copy of a statement issued by Defra to Trading Standards officers – obtained by the Real Bread Campaign – outlines how the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 “prohibit the use of the term wholemeal in the naming or advertising” of products that contain a blend of wheat flours.  The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 (

By making adjustments to the labelling of 50/50 loaves, it was “possible to market these products in a way which satisfies both the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 and FIC [Food Information to Consumers regulations]”, the Defra statement read.

The government department said loaves containing a blend of wheat flours should feature ‘wholemeal’ on the ingredients list but nowhere else on pack.

It comes after the Real Bread Campaign complained to Trading Standards last summer about loaves from nine retailers and brands.

Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, assistant director of food at the British Retail Consortium has stated: “Unlike what the Real Bread Campaign states, the legal text in Regulation 6 of the Bread & Flour Regulation is unclear and can be interpreted in different ways…The BRC is working with a group of other associations and our members’ Primary Authorities to try to arrive at a consensus interpretation.  All bread products are clearly labelled and provide customers with all the information they need.”

This certainly illustrates the dichotomy in certain reserved descriptions and actually informing consumers about the nature of a product, conversely actually preventing their being misled.

Recall – Chocking Hazard

Candy Dynamics recalls varieties of Toxic Waste Slime Lickers because of a choking hazard: 27 October 2023

Candy Dynamics is recalling several varieties of Toxic Waste Slime Licker Sour Rolling Licking Candy because of the possibility that the applicator ball can detach from the product's container posing a choking hazard for consumers.

This underlines that all aspects of a food packaging should be considered from a food safety perspective.

ASA Ruling on T&Cs within online competition

THG Nutrition Limited t/a My Protein THG Nutrition Limited - ASA | CAP

 Upheld Social media (own site) 01 November 2023

Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.

A TikTok post from MyProtein ran a competition to be tagged by individuals in their sports and stated “They’ve got stuff like a luxury yoga retreat in Morocco, Mirafit flat weight equipment, an Apple watch, and much much more.”


1. The complainant, who asked MyProtein for a list of winners but was not provided with one and doubted that the prizes had been awarded, challenged whether the promotion breached the Code.

The ASA held the ad did not clearly set out the qualifying criteria. 

There were three prize bundles to be won: a Running Prize Bundle, a Yoga Prize Bundle and a Weightlifting Prize Bundle. The ASA considered the fact MyProtein did not select and award the Yoga Prize Bundle and Weightlifting Prize Bundle from the entries that had been received due to qualifying criteria that had not been clearly set out meant it had not dealt fairly with participants and had caused unnecessary disappointment. The ASA also considered that MyProtein had failed to publish or make available information that a valid award had taken place for the Running Prize Bundle.

2. The ASA challenged whether the ad breached the Code because it omitted the significant conditions of the promotion.

The ASA considered the omission of various information from the ad was likely to mislead ie time scale and closing dates plus age of entry.

The ASA also considered that information about the number and nature of the prize bundles available (including the individual prizes and that they would be awarded to one winner as a bundle, for each of the three categories) as well as information about which filter to use and how prize winners were to be selected were significant conditions likely to influence consumers’ understanding of the promotion and their decision to participate. For example, it was not clear from the ad how winners from each category would be selected; whether it would be a random selection or based on their skill at performing the activity in their video submitted. It was also not clear from the ad which referred to “the filter” and “our filter”, that there were different filters for each of the three categories. The ad also referred to activities that were not one of the three categories such as boxing and cycling. We considered that the TikTok post was not sufficiently limited by time or space to justify the omission of the significant conditions of the promotion from the ad itself and the omission of those significant conditions from the ad was likely to mislead participants or potential participants.

Christmas Ads are Coming!

The ASA has updated guidance for Christmas Ads Step into (a compliant) Christmas - ASA | CAP

A summary with links is provided below but also additional pointers for those advertising food products including HFSS foods and alcohol.

Under Pressure - Ensure ads are not encouraging excessive spending in an irresponsible manner using ‘buy now pay later’ credit schemes. ASA provides an online article for more.

Do they know the T&Cs? - When administering Christmas promotions please ensure that all significant terms and conditions are included in the ads and that the full T&Cs are made easily accessible.

Advertisers must also take care to not mislead consumers with false ‘time-limited’ promos.

Be Merry, Be Responsible… - Advertiser’s do have an obligation to ensure their ads are not seen to be encouraging excessive or irresponsible drinking.  A summary of ASA advice on alcohol advertising can be accessed here Drink in some advice on alcohol marketing - ASA | CAP

Think of the Children - Advertisers must ensure that any ads targeting or featuring children are not exploiting their credulity, loyalty, vulnerability, or lack of experience by making them feel inferior for not buying (or encouraging other to buy) an advertised product. ASA provides some reminders.

HFSS - Also, HFSS product ads should not be directed at under 16's through the selection of media or the context in which they appear. Additionally, the rule requires that no medium should be used to advertise HFSS products if more than 25% of its audience is under 16.  A summary of rules for advertising HFSS products is provided by the ASA at A tasty reminder about the rules for HFSS product ads - ASA | CAP

Social responsibility

The CAP Code states: 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society. The BCAP Code states: 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. Guidance is provided here Social Responsibility - ASA | CAP

Sometimes it can still go wrong. This week Marks & Spencer has apologised after an outtake from a Christmas advert was perceived to be offensive to Palestinians.  Christmas paper party hats were shown in a fire grate.  The hats are green, red and silver were seen by some on social media to resemble the colours of the Palestinian flag.

M&S posted the image on their Instagram with the caption: "This Christmas, do only what you love... like saying no to paper hats (although, if we're honest, we're partial)."

The Instagram post was shared on Wednesday morning 1 Nov, but subsequently deleted.  In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, M&S on Wednesday night said: "Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas Clothing and Home advert, which was recorded in August. It showed traditional, festive-coloured red, green and silver Christmas paper party hats in a fire grate.  While the intent was to playfully show that some people just don't enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats over the festive season, we have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused."

It is not known if any complaints have been made to the ASA but M&S took the decision to act quickly to remove any escalation. This underlines the importance of a proactive marketing strategy to deal with the unexpected.

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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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