Tag Archives UK

The U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced a new levy on soft drink companies to be assessed “on the volume of sugar-sweetened drinks they produce or import.” In a budget presentation before Parliament, Osborne laid out a two-tiered tax scheme slated to take effect in April 2018, “to give companies plenty of space to change their product mix.” Under the levy, which exempts milk-based drinks and fruit juices, sugar-sweetened beverages will fall into one band with “a total sugar content above 5 grams per 100 milliliters,” or “a second, higher band for the most sugary drinks with more than 8 grams per 100 milliliters.” The U.K. Office for Budget Responsibility apparently anticipates that the levy will raise an estimated £520 million for increased sport funding in primary schools. “Many in the soft drinks industry recognize there’s a problem and have started to reformulate their products… So industry can…

The U.K. Chief Medical Officers have advised consumers to drink less than 6 pints of beer per week under new guidelines for alcoholic beverage intake. Revising previous standards that set weekly limits at 21 units of alcohol for men and 14 units for women, the updated recommendations urge all consumers to imbibe fewer than 14 units weekly and warn that drinking even a moderate amount of beer, wine or spirits on a regular basis allegedly raises the risk of developing certain cancers. They also caution individuals to spread consumption over three or more days instead of engaging in “binge” drinking sessions. “Drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low,” said Chief Medical Officer of England Sally Davies in…

With the launch of its Change4Life campaign, Public Health England (PHE) has issued a free bar code-scanning app that displays the sugar content of foods and beverages. Claiming that children ages 4 to 10 consume 22 kilograms of sugar per year—”the average weight of a 5-year-old”—the campaign also features TV, digital and outdoor advertising as well as educational packs to be distributed by schools. Among other things, PHE highlights tooth decay as “the most common reason” for hospital admissions among children ages 5 to 9. To this end, the “Smart Sugar” app allows users to scan product bar codes at supermarkets to display the sugar content in grams or cubes. According to PHE, which notes that a single serving of soda contains 9 cubes of sugar, the recommended daily maximum sugar intake is (i) “5 sugar cubes for children aged 4 to 6,” (ii) “6 sugar cubes for children aged…

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint alleging that Diageo Great Britain Ltd.’s holiday commercials for Baileys™ liqueur “implied that the success of a social occasion depended on the presence or consumption of alcohol.” Despite Alcohol Concern’s claim that the tagline “IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS WITHOUT YOU… BAILEYS” was “irresponsible,” the agency agreed with Diageo Great Britain and Clearcast that consumers were likely to understand “Christmas” as a reference to the entire holiday season as opposed to a specific social occasion. “We considered that consumers would interpret the claim “IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS WITHOUT YOU” as a play on words referring to getting together with friends over the festive period, as well as referring to the fact that the drink had been traditionally associated with the Christmas period,” ASA said. “We noted that the ad showed the women enjoying one drink together, and there was no suggestion that the…

The Food Standards Agency’s independent Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) will host a February 4, 2016, workshop in London. Breakout sessions will target (i) the food-medicine continuum; (ii) alternative proteins, e.g., insects and in vitro meat production; and (iii) engineered nanomaterials. Registrations are requested by January 14, 2016. See ACNFP News Release, December 14, 2015.   Issue 588

U.K. medical journal The Lancet has announced establishment of a Commission on Obesity “to provide a multidisciplinary platform to contribute to accounting systems for action and to critically analyze the systemic drivers of, and solutions for, obesity.” The 22-member commission is a partnership among The Lancet, University of Auckland, George Washington University, and World Obesity Foundation. The commission’s activities will reportedly build upon various U.N. initiatives targeting obesity and aim to “stimulate action and strengthen accountability systems for the implementation of agreed recommendations to reduce obesity and its related inequalities at global and national levels” and “develop new understandings of the underlying systems that are driving obesity,” among other things. The group’s first meeting is scheduled for February 2016 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. See The Lancet, October 31, 2015.   Issue 583

Public Health England (PHE) has issued an October 2015 evidence review urging the U.K. government to reduce sugar consumption. Building on the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s (SACN’s) conclusion that free sugar intake should constitute less than 5 percent of dietary energy, the report discusses food and beverage marketing, sugar accessibility and product composition, educational efforts, and local initiatives. PHE also addresses taxation schemes, noting that price increases “can influence purchasing of sugar-sweetened drinks and other high sugar products at least in the short-term.” The findings target retail promotions and marketing to children as two key aspects of the food environment that allegedly promote sugar consumption. Among other things, the report specifically recommends (i) restricting the number and type of price promotions across all retail outlets; (ii) reducing food and beverage marketing to children as well as adults; (iii) defining high-sugar foods according to Ofcom’s nutrient profiling model; (iv) instituting…

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a call for research exploring how the Internet of Things (IoT) could affect food safety. Working with The IT as a Utility Network Plus, FSA seeks short-term pilot studies “intended to test new ideas or create novel linkages between research areas.” In particular, the joint initiative seeks to focus on (i) “IoT data, data standards and sharing”; (ii) “IoT transport and food, particularly temperature control”; (iii) “organizing hackathon events to exploit, disseminate and excite opportunities of IoT from farm to table”; and (iv) “what happens to food in people’s homes.” FSA will accept submissions until November 2, 2015.   Issue 581

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has released a trio of decisions upholding complaints against two distilleries and a bread company over allegedly misleading advertisements. Ruling against Summerhall Distillery Ltd. in a complaint filed by a rival company, ASA took issue with advertisements for “hand crafted” Pickering’s Gin that touted Summerhall as Edinburgh’s first gin distillery in more than 150 years, a claim the authority found could not be substantiated. “We considered that linking the product to the heritage of the spirit trade in Edinburgh and to imply that it was related to a revival of this industry was likely to be of particular interest to some consumers, and that its provenance in this context was therefore material information,” states ASA’s decision, which notes the presence of distillery operations within Edinburgh since 1863. “Because the claims had not been substantiated, we concluded that the ads were misleading.” In addition, ASA sided…

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), a group that works in conjunction with the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority, has announced a pre-consultation with various stakeholders in advance of new rules targeting non-broadcast advertising of food and soft drinks high in fat, salt or sugar to children. Non-broadcast channels of advertising include online, outdoor, print media, cinema, and direct marketing. “Our decision to carry out a public consultation responds, in part, to changes in children’s media habits and evolving advertising techniques,” according to CAP. “It also reflects a growing consensus, shared by public health and industry bodies, about the role of advertising self-regulation in helping to bring about a change in the nature and balance of food advertising targeted to children.” CAP reportedly plans to launch the public consultation in early 2016. See CAP News Release, September 29, 2015.   Issue 580

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