NPR has published a writer's comparison of his experiences eating at restaurants in the United States and the United Kingdom while living with a peanut allergy. "Restaurants in the United Kingdom are generally far more vigilant, in this regard, than restaurants in the United States," the author observes. He recounts his experience being turned away from a U.K. restaurant after answering the server's question about food allergies by receiving a card explaining that the restaurant does "not operate in a surgical environment" and therefore could not guarantee that any of its menu items did not contain peanuts. "In America, the onus typically falls more on diners themselves," the author notes. "It's not routine, as it is in England, for servers to ask their customers proactively." The writer credits coverage of a U.K. teenager's death after eating a sandwich from Pret A Manger that was not labeled as containing sesame for…
The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint that a television advertisement "perpetuated a harmful stereotype by suggesting that men were incapable of caring for children and would place them at risk as a result of their incompetence." The ad showed a father leaving a baby in a carrier on a conveyor belt as he examined his food options, including Philadelphia cream cheese products. Mondelez argued that it showed two men caring for their children and "took care to ensure the babies were not shown to be coming to any harm." ASA found the arguments persuasive, but it noted that the commercial featured the mother handing the child to the father at the beginning and the father saying "Let's not tell mum" to the child at the end. In this context, ASA found, "we considered the ad relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for…
The U.K. Cabinet Office has begun an open consultation on general health policies, including nutrition initiatives. The consultation includes an announcement that the government will ban the sale of energy drinks to children under 16, with the full policy to be announced "in our consultation response shortly." The consultation response will also include details of a proposed policy on "making calorie labelling mandatory in the out-of-home sector, such as restaurants, takeaways and cafes." Further, the government has identified five areas of the country that will test programs to restrict advertising for foods high in fat, sugar and salt, incentivize business to "improve their retail offer," improve accessibility and affordability of healthy foods and "create healthier food environments through the planning system." The consultation also includes plans for "infant feeding, clear labelling, food reformulation improving the nutritional content of foods, and support for individuals to achieve and maintain a healthier weight."
The U.K. National Audit Office has released a report that "examines the effectiveness of the current regulatory arrangements to ensure that food is safe to eat and is what it says it is." The report found that spending on maintaining food safety systems in the country has declined, and some local authorities "are failing to meet statutory objectives to conduct interventions." The agency also purportedly found that the "regulatory system lacks the full range of enforcement powers to ensure businesses supply safe food."
The U.K. Food Standards Agency has opened a public consultation on labeling allergens on prepared food products. The consultation applies to foods “prepacked on the premises in anticipation of an order, before being offered for sale,” such as “fresh (uncooked) pizzas from the deli counter,” “boxed salads,” “hot foods such as rotisserie chicken or wedges,” and “foods that are pre-weighed and packed such as cheese or meats from a delicatessen counter or baked goods from an in-store bakery.” The consultation closes March 29, 2019. The New York Times also addressed food allergen labeling, asserting that regulations in the United States are incomplete. The author notes that label statements indicating the possibility of traces of allergens are unregulated, leading to inconsistent messages, and some common allergens are not noted at all, such as sesame.
The United Kingdom has launched a public consultation on a proposal to restrict some types of advertising for foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS). The consultation targets "volume-based price promotions of HFSS food and drink that encourage people to buy more than they need, for example, ‘buy one, get one free’ and free refills of sugary soft drinks" as well as ads placed at "main selling locations in stores, such as checkouts, aisle ends and store entrances." The government further seeks input on "which businesses, products and types of promotions should be included in the restrictions," "definitions for HFSS products, price promotions and locations in stores" and "how businesses can put this into practice and whether they will face any difficulties."
According to the BBC, advocacy group Action on Sugar has called for restaurants to stop serving "freakshakes," milkshakes with added "chocolates, sweets, cake, cream and sauce." The group reportedly surveyed restaurants for nutritional information on their freakshakes and found that some contained as many as 1,280 calories, or "more than half the daily recommended amount of calories for an adult and over six times the amount of sugar recommended for seven to 10-year-olds." The group called on the U.K. government to "introduce legislation to force companies to be more transparent about what is in their products."
The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reportedly found that one-fifth of meat samples tested contained DNA not attributable to the animal source indicated on the label. FSA conducted 665 tests from 487 businesses suspected of "compliance issues," including restaurants and supermarkets, and purportedly found that some samples contained DNA from as many as four animals. The products included mincemeat, sausages, kebabs and curries. An FSA spokesperson reportedly told BBC that the results were "not representative of the wider food industry."
England's Department of Health and Social Care has opened a consultation on whether the country should ban the sale of energy drinks to children. The consultation requests comments on (i) "what products should be included in any restrictions," (ii) "what age limit a ban should apply to," (iii) "whether sales of energy drinks from vending machines should be restricted" and (iv) "whether there are any changes that would be more appropriate than a ban on sales to children or that could be applied as well as a ban." The consultation cites the effects of sugar and caffeine on children as concerns triggering the proposed ban. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would not be affected by any actions England takes pursuant to the consultation.
The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld the Obesity Health Alliance's complaints against advertisements for Kellogg Coco Pops Granola and a KFC milkshake. The organization asserted that both companies targeted ads for a product high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) to an audience under 16. The ad for Kellogg's Coco Pops Granola ran during a children's television show. Kellogg asserted that its granola is not an HFSS product, which ASA confirmed. "However, Coco Pops was a well-established brand, and Coco the Monkey, who was used to advertise all the products in the range, was also well-established as an equity brand character," ASA held. "We considered that many adults and children were likely to very strongly associate the Coco Pops brand and Coco the Monkey primarily with Coco Pops original cereal. At the time the ad was seen by the complainant Coco Pops original cereal was an HFSS product…