Tag Archives UK

The British Court of Appeal has determined that “Regular Pringles,” a snack food made by Procter and Gamble, are subject to the value-added tax under a provision that applies to “potato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs and similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch.” Revenue & Customs v. Procter & Gamble UK, [2009] EWCA Civ 407 (Eng. & Wales Ct. App. (Civ. Div.), decided May 20, 2009). Foods are generally not taxed in Britain, but an exception has been carved out for “food not normally bought primarily for nutrition but eaten as snacks.” The question before the court was whether the Pringles chips, with just 42 percent potato flour content, are “similar to potato crisps and made from the potato.” The company apparently argued that products subject to the tax should be made from 100 percent potato or near 100 percent, to give the…

A UK-based consumer group recently released the results of a survey finding that some baby foods allegedly contain more saturated fat, salt and sugar by weight than popular adult snacks. The Children’s Food Campaign (CFC) apparently analyzed 107 products for infants or toddlers, claiming that only one-half met the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) requirements for low fat, salt and sugar. According to CFC, “Farley’s Original Rusks contained more sugar than McVities Dark Chocolate Digestives, that Heinz Toddler’s Own Mini Cheese Biscuits had more saturated fat per 100g than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and that Cow & Gate Baby Balance Bear Biscuits contained trans fat and were not labeled in the way required.” CFC also called on the government to (i) “Obtain a commitment from all companies that produce food marketed for babies and young children to reformulate products to remove trans fats and reduce the amount of saturated fat,…

The House of Lords Science & Technology Committee has created a subcommittee to investigate the use of nanotechnology in the food sector. Led by Lord John Richard Krebs, the inquiry will focus on food products, additives and supplements; food contact packaging; food processing; animal feed; pesticides and fertilizers; and food containers and utensils. “We intend to highlight those areas where our understanding of the use of nanotechnologies in food needs the most urgent attention, allowing us to take action to ensure appropriate steps are taken,” Krebs was quoted as saying. See Foodbev.com, February 4, 2009. The subcommittee has also issued a call for evidence seeking input on a range of issues involving (i) the state of the science and its current use in the food sector; (ii) health and safety; (iii) regulatory framework; and (iv) public engagement and consumer information. The deadline for written submissions is March 13, 2009. See House…

British sheep farmers have reportedly threatened to resist an EU proposal that would require them to implement an electronic animal identification system starting in January 2010. With 30 million sheep in the United Kingdom, many farmers have described the plan as prohibitively expensive and unnecessary. Designed to track livestock movement in the event of an epidemic, the system would rely on ear tags costing between £0.50 and £1.50 each with an additional £5,000 or £6,000 per scanning machine. But farmers have argued that their current method of tracking sheep is adequate and avoids the technological issues associated with Internet and broadband use in remote areas. “When you consider that the average sheep farmer only makes something like £6,000 a year, this could see a significant number of farmers deciding it is just too much,” one farmer was quoted as saying. The proposal has drawn similar criticisms from farming organizations in…

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has advised pregnant women to reduce their daily caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams – or approximately two mugs of coffee. The agency previously suggested a maximum intake of 300 mg, but lowered its recommendation after the British Medical Journal published an FSA-funded study concluding that a further reduction would lessen the health risks to unborn children. “This is because too much caffeine might result in a baby having a lower birth weight than it should, which can increase the risk of some health conditions later in life,” stated FSA in a November 3, 2008, press release. FSA has since issued guidelines intended to help expectant mothers gauge their caffeine consumption. The agency has calculated that 200 mg is roughly equal to (i) two mugs of instant coffee; (ii) one mug of filtered coffee; (iii) two mugs of tea; (iv) five cans of cola; (v) two…

The Soil Association, a British environmental group dedicated to sustainable, organic farming, has released a report, titled “Land of the GM-Free? How the American public are starting to turn against GM food,” that contends American consumers, farmers and politicians are losing their enthusiasm for genetically modified (GM) crops. Thus, “it is not surprising that the GM industry has scaled up its efforts to find a new market in the EU.” The report specifically addresses how “genetically engineered bovine growth hormone” and GM crops such as rice, wheat and alfalfa are facing opposition from consumers and others in the United States in the form of lawsuits and regulatory pressures. According to the report, “The Irish Republic, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all committed to GM-free policies. This has left just the present English government ministers on an increasingly lonely and desperate pro-GM quest, as consumers in their main pro-GM ally,…

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