Tag Archives Europe

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has declined to take action against Bacardi-Martini Ltd. following a complaint that its television ad “was irresponsible because it encouraged immoderate drinking by implying that drinking should take place before and throughout a night out.” In its determination, ASA found that “a sealed bottle of Bacardi rum was shown on several occasions but none of the characters in the ad were shown actually serving or drinking the rum” until the group of characters reaches a bar. “The implication was that the group would drink some of the alcohol during their night out, but we noted that none of the characters shown in the ad seemed to be dancing, moving, or otherwise interacting with each other in a way suggestive of intoxication or excessive alcohol consumption at any point, including in the final scenes,” ASA ruled. “For those reasons we concluded that the ad did…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released an opinion proposing a revision to tolerable intakes of per- and polyfluoroalykl substances (PFAS), which food packaging can contain. The authors reportedly observed high levels of PFAS in “meat and meat products” as well as “fish and other seafood.” In addition, PFAS was “detected in blood samples of almost all individuals assessed, demonstrating ubiquitous exposure.”

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a scientific opinion on "the occurrence and control of three parasites that may be transmitted via food, namely Cryptosporidium spp., Toxoplasma gondii, and Echinococcus spp.," which cause the diseases "cryptosporidiosis, toxoplasmosis, and alveolar echinococcosis (AE) and cystic echinococcosis (CE), respectively." EFSA identified "many gaps in our knowledge of food‐borne transmission of the three parasites" but suggested that "consumer preferences for raw, fresh produce may contribute to increasing the likelihood of infection." EFSA further noted that commercial washing of fresh produce, "particularly with the reuse of washwater, may spread localised contamination throughout a batch," resulting in contamination of ready-to-eat produce. EFSA also researched the prevalence of contamination in meat, finding that "consumer preferences for animals raised with access to outdoor conditions, for not freezing meat prior to consumption, and for eating meat raw or rare may increase the likelihood of exposure to infective…

The European Commission has issued a report on antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance that includes a section on Europeans' "attitudes towards the use of antibiotics on sick animals, and their awareness of the ban on using antibiotics to stimulate growth in farm animals." The report states that 56 percent of respondents believed that sick animals should be given antibiotics, while 35 percent told researchers that sick animals should not be treated with antibiotics. The majority of respondents—58 percent—did not know that the use of antibiotics to stimulate growth in farm animals is banned in the EU, which represents a drop by two percentage points since the same question was asked in a 2016 study.

The European Court of Justice's Grand Chamber has determined that taste cannot be copyrighted in a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement of a cheese spread. Levola Hengelo BV v. Smilde Foods BV, No. C-310/17 (E.C.J., entered November 13, 2018). The court considered whether "taste" amounts to a work under copyright law. "[F]irst, the authorities responsible for ensuring that the exclusive rights inherent in copyright are protected must be able to identify, clearly and precisely, the subject matter so protected," the court stated. "The same is true for individuals, in particular economic operators, who must be able to identify, clearly and precisely, what is the subject matter of protection which third parties, especially competitors, enjoy. Secondly, the need to ensure that there is no element of subjectivity –– given that it is detrimental to legal certainty –– in the process of identifying the protected subject matter means that the latter must be…

As part of a climate package, Denmark has reportedly proposed food labels that would indicate the environmental impact of the food's production. Danish Minister for the Environment Lars Christian Lilleholt reportedly told The Local, "We want to give consumers the means to assess in supermarkets the environmental impact of products." The Danish Agriculture & Food Council supported the measure but suggested that the environmental impact labels may need to consider the nutritional value of a product as well. "A bottle of soda may have a low environmental impact, but it is not a product you can live on," the organization's director is quoted as saying.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a scientific report identifying potential areas of improvement in the agency’s emerging risks identification procedure. The report highlights “weaknesses with respect to data collection, analysis and integration” and suggests that broader analyses would improve the system. Recommendations include (i) integrating social sciences “to improve understanding of interactions and dynamics,” (ii) improving data processing pipelines and (iii) enhancing transparency and improving communication.

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has again barred HJ Heinz Foods UK from airing a television commercial suggesting that the nutritional benefits of beans and a protein supplement are comparable. After ASA found that the ad made an unpermitted nutrition claim, Heinz changed a line in the commercial to reduce an implied comparison between the levels of protein, fiber and fat in a protein shake and a serving of beans. ASA found that the updated version of the ad continued to create the “overall impression” that the two products were comparable and banned the ad from running on television.

The Court of Justice for the European Union has held that techniques to edit an organism’s genes without inserting foreign DNA—such as CRISPR/Cas9—result in the creation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) subject to the EU GMO Directive. Confédération paysanne v. Premier ministre, No. C-528/16 (CJEU, entered July 25, 2018). The plaintiff, a French agricultural union, argued that French legislation exempting organisms produced with mutagenesis techniques such as CRISPR from GMO regulation conflicts with EU legislation governing GMOs. The court found that the mutagenesis techniques “alter the genetic material of an organism in a way that does not occur naturally, within the meaning of that provision. It follows that organisms obtained by means of techniques/methods of mutagenesis must be considered to be GMOs within the meaning of [the GMO Directive].”

Europol has announced the arrests of 66 people following a four-year investigation into an organized-crime group accused of selling horsemeat "not suitable for consumption" as beef products. The investigation began in 2013 after Irish authorities found products sold as beef burgers that contained horsemeat and led to a Dutch man in Spain alleged to be the leader of the scheme. According to Europol's July 16, 2017, press release, "Investigators concluded that the Spanish element of this organisation was a small part of the whole European structure controlled by the Dutch suspect."   Issue 641