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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed a "comprehensive safety assessment of sugars in the diet and their potential links to health problems." The assessment aimed to set a tolerable upper intake level for dietary sugars, but the panel was unable to reach a conclusion. According to the assessment's plain language summary, "the risk of adverse health effects (responses) increased across the whole range of observed intake levels (doses) in a constant (linear) manner, i.e. the higher the intake, the greater the risk of adverse effects." The announcement indicated that the wide-ranging assessment may allow researchers to set a tolerable upper intake level following future studies. One panelists reportedly stated, "We screened over 30,000 publications so we have identified several areas to target for researchers and technicians. The pooling and reuse of individual human data from research studies would be a valuable source of information. Research should focus both…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld several complaints against Oatly UK Ltd. arguing that the company's advertisements misled consumers into believing the product is more environmentally friendly than the production processes actually are. The ads cited several statistics on the greenhouse gases generated by the dairy and livestock industries and asserted Oatly's production generated fewer emissions. ASA found that the statistics were presented in ways that consumers would be likely to misunderstand, such as the assertion that "Oatly generates 73% less CO2e vs. milk," which applied specifically to whole milk and not the broader milk category. The one complaint that was not upheld was the assertion that “If everyone in the world adopted a vegan diet, it would reduce food’s annual greenhouse emissions by 6.6bn metric tons (a 49% reduction)” because ASA found sufficient evidence to support the statement.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) have begun consultations seeking scientific evaluations of glyphosate. "The classification of chemicals is based solely on the hazardous properties of a substance and does not take into account the use or likelihood of exposure to the substance," the announcement notes. "Exposure is considered as part of the risk assessment of pesticide active substances, a process led by EFSA." Glyphosate is currently approved for use the European Union until December 2022, and EFSA and ECHA anticipate finalizing their conclusions "in the second half of 2022." Comments will be accepted until November 22, 2021.

An EU study has examined New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), which can create genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and their potential effects on creating a sustainable food system in Europe. In a press release, Commissioner for Heath and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said, "The study we publish today concludes that New Genomic Techniques can promote the sustainability of agricultural production, in line with the objectives of our Farm to Fork Strategy. With the safety of consumers and the environment as the guiding principle, now is the moment to have an open dialogue with citizens, Member States and the European Parliament to jointly decide the way forward for the use of these biotechnologies in the EU." The announcement notes that the EU will begin an open consultation "to discuss the design of a new legal framework for these biotechnologies." Among the findings of the study are that "NGT products have the potential to…

The European Court of Justice has ruled that alga Lithothamnium calcareum cannot be used in the production of food labeled as organic for the purposes of adding calcium. Natumi GmbH v. Land Nordrhein-Westfalen, No. C‑815/19 (E.C.J., entered April 29, 2021). Natumi GmbH manufactured a drink labeled as organic that is marketed as calcium-rich because of its red algae content, but the German state North Rhine-Westfalia imposed a fine on the company for adding non-edible algae to its products. "Natumi acknowledges that, since the use of calcium carbonate is prohibited for the calcium enrichment of organic products, many producers of soya-, rice- and cereal-based organic drinks add the Lithothamnium calcareum alga to them because it is naturally high in calcium. In addition, Natumi argues that that alga is a natural alternative to calcium and that its use for enriching organic food should be permitted," the court found. However, it stated, allowing the…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued guidance with information advising food business operators on what information should be included on frozen food packaging. The guidance suggests when additional food-safety information should be included, such as a note to only thaw the necessary amount of food and to break up large pieces that have been frozen together inside the package. EFSA also notes that some products will have different shelf-life limits after the packaging has been opened because new pathogens could have been introduced. "From a food safety point of view, freezing prevents the growth of pathogens. However, even though the concentration of pathogens may decrease over time, elimination is usually not complete during the freezing period depending on the pathogen and initial concentrations, the duration of the frozen storage and conditions during freezing/thawing. Pathogenic microorganisms that survive frozen storage can recover during thawing and may grow and/or produce…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released several guidance documents to aid stakeholders in complying with EU regulations on food issues implemented on March 27, 2021. The publications provide guidance on: Applying for an exemption from mandatory food allergen labeling; Renewing applications for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and feed; Preparing applications for genetically modified plants; Applying for authorization of a novel food; Preparing applications for substances to be used in food-contact plastics; Applying to make health claims about foods; Preparing an evaluation for infant formula manufactured from protein hydrolysates; and Submitting notifications for traditional foods from third countries.

The European Food Safety Authority has issued scientific guidance on the inclusion of smoke flavoring in food products. The guidance includes notes on the characterization of the flavoring, proposed uses, exposure assessments and safety data. Smoke flavoring has increasingly been a target of putative class actions in the United States, including lawsuits targeting smoked gouda and smoked provolone.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against BrewDog Beer for a print ad and an outdoor poster ad that displayed "F--k You CO2. Brewdog Beer Is Now Carbon Negative" with the dashes obscured by a can of beer. ASA found that the poster ad "had been placed in accordance with guidelines on proximity to schools and religious buildings; that the ad had run during school summer holidays and that one local authority (Newcastle City Council) had been asked and considered the ad acceptable for use." However, the board found that the ad "was so likely to offend a general audience that such a reference should not appear in media where it was viewable by such an audience. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence and was not appropriate for display in untargeted media." ASA upheld the complaint as it…

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has prevented France from banning the marketing of cannabidiol (CBD) "lawfully produced in another Member State when it is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant in its entirety and not solely from its fibre and seeds." In its ruling, CJEU found that "CBD cannot be classified as a 'narcotic drug,'" and although France is "not required to demonstrate that the dangerous property of CBD is identical to that of certain narcotic drugs," the country "must assess available scientific data in order to make sure that the real risk to public health alleged does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations. A decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD, which indeed constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to trade in products lawfully manufactured and marketed in other Member States, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established."

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