Tag Archives EU

Members of the European Parliament have backed by a 559 to 31 vote, with 26 abstentions, a non-binding resolution asking the EU to “further harmonize the safety requirements for food contact materials [FCMs], which are largely used in everyday life in the form of food packaging, kitchen utensils and tableware.” According to a news release, “Only four out of listed 17 food contact materials are currently covered by specific safety measures foreseen in existing EU framework legislation: plastics, ceramics, regenerated cellulose and ‘active and intelligent’ materials.” In particular, the report on the implementation of the Food Contact Materials Regulation ((EC) No 1935/2004) calls on the Commission to consider identifying bisphenol A (BPA) as one of the substances classified as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under REACH regulations. It also asks the European Commission to prohibit the use of bisphenol S (BPS) in FCMs “as a substitute for Bisphenol…

France has reportedly passed a ban on plastic cups, knives, forks and plates as part of an ecological initiative, Energy Transition for Green Growth. The prohibition, which takes effect in 2020, targets the nearly 5 billion plastic cups discarded annually in France. The country is reportedly the first to target plastic dishware. A Brussels-based organization representing European packaging manufacturers, Pack2Go Europe, has reportedly vowed to fight the ban to prevent similar measures from passing in other European countries. “We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law,” Pack2Go Europe Secretary General Eamonn Bates told The Associated Press. “If they don’t, we will.” See Associated Press, September 12, 2016; The Local, September 13, 2016.   Issue 617

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled in favor of the European Union in a dispute over Russia’s 2014 ban on the import of live pigs, fresh pork and other pig products following cases of African Swine Fever in some EU regions. The ban violated WTO rules on restricting trade based on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, the organization concluded. In an August 19, 2016, press release, the European Commission admitted that many of the products covered by the prohibition continue to be “restricted by a politically motivated ban imposed on EU agri-food products by Russia,” but noted that “the panel’s findings are of systemic importance, since they remind Russia about its international obligations and the fact that these cannot be arbitrarily ignored.” See EU Press Release, August 19, 2016.   Issue 615

One day after U.K. citizens voted to leave the European Union, Samuel Adams® brewer Boston Beer Co. filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register “Brexit” for use on hard cider products. U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 87083390 (filed June 24, 2016). Two other applications for Brexit marks were filed the same day in the categories of dietary supplements and clothing. A Boston Beer Co. spokesperson reportedly declined to detail the company’s plans for its Brexit mark. See The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2016.   Issue 610

A new report issued by the European Commission advocates that the European Parliament take action on trans fat levels in foods by introducing (i) a mandatory label for foods with trans fat, (ii) legislation setting a limit on allowable trans fat content, (iii) voluntary agreements to reduce trans fat content, or (iv) guidance for national legal limits on trans fats in food. The report analyzes each option, noting possible benefits and drawbacks. “Mandatory [trans fat] labeling would serve two purposes: (i) to provide incentives to the industry towards reducing [trans fat] from food products and (ii) to enable consumers to make informed food choices,” the report explains, noting the labels would have a limited impact if consumer awareness of the negative effects associated with trans fat is low. The report further finds that a legal limit on allowable trans fat content would provide the highest public health benefits, but an…

London-based Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), a collaborative group of U.S. and E.U. consumer organizations that develops and submits joint consumer policy recommendations to the U.S. government and European Union, is hosting a January 26, 2016, meeting in Brussels, Belgium, focusing on use of the precautionary principle in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Discussions at the event will include an overview of the precautionary principle in trade agreements and how it is used in the United States and European Union; and precautionary approaches to food safety (e.g., BSE, GMO, hormones, GRAS), pesticide/biocide regulation, digital and privacy rights, and intellectual property. Speakers will include U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill and E.U. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.   Issue 585

Police in Turin, Italy, are reportedly investigating seven companies, including Bertolli, Carapelli and Santa Sabina—for allegedly selling “Extra Virgin” olive oils (EVOOs) that fail to meet EU standards to be labeled as such. The investigation was reportedly launched after consumer magazine Il Test notified the police of its taste-test results. The police then hired the Italian customs agency to test 20 of the most popular brands of EVOO in a laboratory, finding that nine brands from seven companies were lower quality oil. “For months now we have been increasing quality controls. In 2014 our inspectors carried out 6,000 checks and confiscated oil worth 10 million euros,” Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina told The Telegraph. “It’s vital to protect a sector as important as that of olive oil.” See The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Local, November 11, 2015.   Issue 584

The European Union’s General Court has rejected an appeal to register “Halloumi” and its Greek alphabet equivalent as Community Trade Marks, deeming the terms descriptive of the cheese product. Republic of Cyprus v. Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Mkt., Nos. T-292/14 and T-293/14 (Gen. Ct., order entered October 7, 2015). The application would have granted trademark protection for “Halloumi” within the European Union. Halloumi is set to receive Protected Designation of Origin status as a cheese produced on the island of Cyprus after the European Commission published the application to register the name in July 2015. As a trademark, however, the term is merely descriptive of the cheese product, the court found. “[T]he applicant acknowledges that the marks applied for have always been perceived by Cypriot consumers and by consumers across the European Union as referring to a particular type of cheese exported from Cyprus, made in a certain…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a scientific opinion assessing any potential risks associated with the use of insect protein in food and animal feed. Concluding that chemical and biological risks depend on production method, the type of substrate used, and insect species, the expert panel specifically notes that “the occurrence of prions—abnormal proteins that can cause diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans—is expected to be equal or lower if the substrate does not include protein derived from humans (manure) or ruminants.” The report also calls for more data about the possible accumulation of cadmium, arsenic, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals in farm-raised insects. “EFSA concludes that when non-processed insects are fed with currently permitted feed materials, the potential occurrence of microbiological hazards is expected to be similar to that associated with other nonprocessed sources of protein,” states a…

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has reportedly objected to McDonald’s Corp.’s use of “artisan” in describing its new product, the McMór hamburger. The Ireland-exclusive burger is marketed as an “artisan” product that incorporates several ingredients from Irish cuisine, including bacon, cabbage, baby kale, Ballymaloe relish, Charleville cheese and a “potato-flaked” bun. FSAI established guidelines in May 2015 about the use of “artisan” that stipulate the word should describe products made only (i)“in limited quantities by skilled craftspeople,” (ii) without a “fully mechanized” process that “follows a traditional method,” (iii) “in a micro-enterprise at a single location,” and (iv) with “characteristic ingredients” that are “grown or produced locally, where seasonally available and practical.” McDonald’s issued a statement indicating that it would remove “artisan” from its marketing. Additional details about FSAI’s food marketing guidance appear in Issue 566 of this Update. See The Irish Times, September 1, 2015.   Issue…

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