Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Health Canada's Consultation workbook on Precautionary Labelling of Priority Allergens in Prepackaged Foods

Health Canada's Consultation workbook on Precautionary Labelling of Priority Allergens in Prepackaged Foods is now available here and can be completed and submitted until February 10, 2010. 
Health Canada Consulting on Policy Options for Precautionary Labelling of Priority Allergens on Pre-Packaged Foods is available here.
Consultation on Precautionary Labelling of Food Allergens is available here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama in Asia: The First Pacific President Attends APEC Summit

From Obama Foodorama, a nice report on President Obama’s arrival last night in Singapore and attendance at the Gala Dinner at the APEC Summit. “Last night, President ending leaders were given traditional garb for the dinner, and had a choice between red shirts and blue. President Obama, of course, chose blue. APEC is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and has 21 member countries. One of the primary goals of this week's meeting is the development of a region-wide free trade area, which would account for half the world's imports and exports if it becomes a reality. During meetings over the past few days, leaders have been discussing ending all restrictions on food trade, which is a huge percentage of the economic pie. It's also something that is problematic, in part due to food safety problems . . .”

Above, at dinner: President Obama with, from left, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, China's President Hu Jintao, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Counting the global burden of foodborne disease - more than 1 million deaths a year

Susan Jones, “Counting the global burden of foodborne disease,” Speaking of Medicine (Nov. 2, 2009) at: http://speakingofmedicine.plos.org/2009/11/02/counting-the-global-burden-of-foodborne-disease/

“[Y]ou may be surprised to find that the global burden of disease attributable to foodborne illness, which is perhaps the most basic information needed to push forward research and action on foodborne illness, is not known. Why is there such an apparent lack of interest in documenting the scope of illnesses that affect people from all countries? One reason may be a common misconception that foodborne diseases are mild and self-limiting. A second and very important reason is that it’s often incredibly difficult to attribute foodborne illnesses and deaths to a specific foodstuff. And a third reason is that there is no well-heeled funder providing the impetus and cash to tackle foodborne illness, unlike other global problems such as HIV, malaria and TB.

“In 2007, the WHO launched an international initiative to tackle foodborne disease. The WHO Initiative to Estimate the Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases aims to quantify how many people die from, or are affected by, all major foodborne causes each year. The FERG (Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group) initiative, led by Claudia Stein and Jorgen Schlundt from the WHO, aims to set the problem of foodborne illness in context. . . .

“FERG has commissioned research seeking to quantify burdens of different foodborne diseases. Early reports were presented at the meeting and revealed the shocking level of the problem. A systematic review by Christa Fischer-Walker and Robert Black from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the US revealed that there are a whopping 5 billion episodes of diarrhea in children aged > 5 annually, with 3.2 billion cases in South-East Asia. Specific inspection of papers reporting deaths revealed that there were more than 1.15 million estimated deaths from diarrhea in South East Asia and Africa each year in children >5 — this is almost a million more deaths than was previously estimated. The paucity of data was laid bare by these preliminary results, with no data for China, Latin America, the Middle East. Pathogens in the spotlight in these systematic reviews were the usual suspects, including E. coli, Shigella, Vibrio cholerae, Campylobacter and Salmonella. This is not a burden solely borne by those living in poverty — 455 million episodes of diarrhea each year in the Americas and 419 million episodes each year in Europe. The data are so limited that these global estimates are virtually bound to underreport the problem. . . .”

Friday, November 06, 2009

This is how Europe operates when it comes to food safety

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has published an EU Food Safety Almanac, which briefly describes the state structures of food and feed safety in 30 European states. "Smooth cooperation between the state players in Europe strengthens food safety. If the stakeholders and structures in the European countries are known to all those concerned, then we will be able to work together even more effectively and avoid the duplication of work", says Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel.

The EU Food Safety Almanac (German and English) can be downloaded free-of-charge here on the BfR website.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Overview of the Main Institutions of the EU

A slide presentation by Laurence Castle, Central Science Laboratory, York (UK), “Overview of the main institutions of the EU” (2008).

EU Training on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Issues for Asian Countries

EU Training on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Issues for Asian Countries provides links to seminar slides organised by the European Commission Directorate General for TRADE in cooperation with the Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO).  Although aimed at improving mutual understanding of Sanitary and Phytosanitary issues and relevant legislation between the EU and administrators from Asian countries, the materials are applicable generally on SPS issues in the EU and globally.

Can the multilateral institutions encourage unbiased outcomes?

Lee Ann Jackson and Marion Jansen have written, “Risk assessment in the international food safety policy arena: Can the multilateral institutions encourage unbiased outcomes?” (Jan. 2009). The working paper describes how food safety related scientific evidence is generated and how it is used in the context of risk assessment for international standard-setting at Codex and in WTO trade disputes. The authors also  discuss the processes leading to policy conclusions on the basis of scientific evidence.  They discuss the interactions between private and public sector actors and between "scientific experts" and others. Finally, they provide suggestions on improving the interactions and the transparency of the process.


"At the table with Darwin"

The new Food Systems, Culture and Society programme at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) is coordinating a conference this evening called “At the table with Darwin” as part of their “UOC Darwin Year”. Beth Forrest, Thomas Glick and José Enrique Campillo will each present a 30 minute talk related to Darwin and food. More information is available here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nation-Specific Risk Tolerance in the WTO

From the National AgLaw Center e-Newsletter:

When WTO member states seek to restrict imports on the grounds of protecting public health and safety, those restrictions must be justified under the provisions of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, one of the agreements that make up the WTO system. Recently, the WTO's dispute resolution arm considered attempts to justify restrictions on hormone-treated beef and on biotech products. In doing so, the WTO announced a standard that permits greater individuality of SPS measures among WTO members, while also ensuring a rigorous scientific review of even the most nation-specific solutions. Nation-Specific Risk Tolerance in the WTO: US-Continued Suspension of Obligations in the EC-Hormones Dispute by Alison Peck describes the SPS Agreement, discusses the important cases, and explains the decision, standard and practical effects of the ruling.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Food Standards Agency Chair

The Food Standards Agency today welcomes the announcement of the appointment of Lord Rooker as its new Chair by the Secretary of State for Health.

Lord Rooker, a former Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), replaces the outgoing Chair Dame Deirdre Hutton and will take up his new duties on 27 July.

The press release is available here.

Lead Instructor Opening for OIE Course

The Institute for Food Laws & Regulations (IFLR) at Michigan State University is seeking a lead instructor for a course on the OIE and world animal health. This is a three credit course is taught completely over the Internet and is designed for those interested in the global animal health and its relationship to international trade in animals and animal products.

For more information on the opening, visit here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Unexplored Potential of Organic-Biotech Production

From the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN Report, The Unexplored Potential of Organic-Biotech Production:

“The organic movement rejects biotechnology as inherently contradictory to its fundamental goal of promoting environmental protection in agriculture. European organic promoters in particular stress respect for nature over yield maximization, campaigning for a return to traditional production methods and inputs. [1] In reality, the divide between organics and biotechnology is an artificial construction maintained by ideology rather than science. A governmental decision to change organic regulations to permit the use of biotechnology could have far-reaching policy implications for global agriculture. Allowing producers to gain organic certification for biotech crops could encourage the development of a new type of environmentally sustainable agricultural production with greater benefits for the consumer.”

The full report is available here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

US FDA chief seeks closer ties with EU for drug and food safety

Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the new Commissioner of the FDA, said the agency hopes to build closer ties with European Union counterparts. The plan coincides with a previous agreement between the U.S. and the EU to assign experts in their food and drug agencies to coordinate public health policies. Forbes/Associated Press

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Online Food Studies Program

The UOC International Graduate Institute is now offering an online master's program in Food, Society, and International Governance. The program is designed for individuals interested in enhancing their understanding and analysis of agriculture and food policy, and increasing their understanding of the social, cultural and economic factors that influence and shape the development and enforcement of agriculture governance. This combination presents an opportunity to explore connections between the historical, political, scientific, strategic and ethical considerations involved in the organisation of food policy and agriculture internationally.

This program is designed to prepare people to meet the demand for knowledgeable and well-trained food systems leaders and analysts by fostering practical and critical learning with an international perspective.

Starting in October, UOC will be offering innovative online courses:

* Masters in Food, Society and International Governance (2 years, part time, €4,200)

* Postgraduate Diploma in Food Systems and Governance (1 year, part time, €2,300)

* Short course in Food systems Analysis (4 months, part time, €1,200)

Is this programme for you?

The Food Systems, Culture and Society programme attracts students and people who work across the agri-food sector. Many of our students already have work experience and are looking to broaden their knowledge and skills so as to advance their careers.

The courses are specifically geared towards:

§ Individuals working in the agri-food sector

§ Public administrators

§ Policy analysts

§ Consultants

§ Lawyers

§ Journalists specializing in food politics

§ Professional organizations, NGOs or international cooperation projects that address issues linked to food and agriculture

§ Students wishing further education on issues of agri-food governance

This programme will prepare people to meet the demand for knowledgeable and well-trained food systems analysts and leaders, by fostering practical and critical learning with an international perspective.

Note that to apply for the programme, you do not have a university degree. Please submit a CV and letter of interest to foodsystems@uoc.edu.

About the UOC

The UOC is a leader in e-learning and we are progressive in our determination to champion open education that integrates new ideas and new technologies. The UOC is a 100% internet-based, fully accredited university operating from Barcelona. We champion multilingualism and hold the UNESCO chair in e-learning.

To find the program on Facebook, search "food systems, culture and society"

Check out the blog

Find out more online

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Reports: From the Foreign Agricultural Service Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN)

2009 Leading Agricultural Sectors for US Export and Investment_Taipei ATO_Taiwan_4-10-2009.pdf
Agricultural marketing specialists compile basic agricultural market information for U.S. exporters about a range of industry and service sectors in Taiwan. The leading agricultural report, updated annually, cover beef, pork, poultry, fresh fruit, dried and frozen fruit, ready-to-use ingredients, cheese, engineered wood, chocolate and other candy, pet food and wine and spirits, fish and seafood products, and ginseng sectors which represent the best prospects for U.S. exporters.
Bangkok Newsletter - June 2009_Bangkok_Thailand_4-16-2009.pdf In this issue you will find information on market access for U.S. potatoes and pork, APEC events, market opportunities for U.S. exports to Thailand; and upcoming events.
Biotech Field Destructions Continue_Berlin_Germany_6-3-2009.pdf Anti-biotech groups have continued their destruction in 2009. By the end of May 2009, the German Plant Breeders Association (BDP) already reported six cases of research plot destructions and occupations in Germany this year.  Since there is no commercial cultivation of biotech crops allowed in Germany, activists are concentrating their destructive work on research fields and research installations.
Commodity Report_EU-27 CITRUS SEMI-ANNUAL_Madrid_Spain EU-27_6-9-2009.pdf  EU-27 citrus orchards include orange, lemon, mandarin and grapefruit groves.  Production is mainly in the Mediterranean regions of Spain, Italy and Greece, with lesser production in France, Cyprus, Malta and Portugal.  While it is still early in the season, production for MY 2009/10 is expected to be similar to that of MY 2008/09.
General Report_New Delhi_India_6-12-2009.pdf India's bio-fuel strategy continues to focus on use of non-food sources for production of bio-fuels: sugar molasses for production of ethanol for blending with gasoline, and non-edible oilseeds for production of bio-diesel for blending with petro-diesel.  The government's current target of five percent blending of ethanol with petrol has been partially successful in years of surplus sugar production, but falters when sugar production declines.
General Report_The Hague_Netherlands-Germany EU-27_6-15-2009.pdf In Directive 2003/30, the EU set indicative targets for biofuel consumption.  While the use of biofuels is trending upwards it is not expected that the EU will achieve its target of 5.75% of road transport fuel by 2010.  In the previous EU Biofuels Annual, it was reported that profit margins in the biofuels sector were reduced by high feedstock prices and competitive imports.  Since the summer of 2008, however, the market for biodiesel in the EU further deteriorated due to the decline in fossil ...
Improved Access for Australian Citrus and Mangos to China_Canberra_Australia_06-17-2009.pdf The emerging trade in Australian citrus and mangos to China is expected to grow after the Australian Federal Government negotiated improved market access.
New Law on GMO is prohibiting trade or commercial growing of GMO _Belgrade_Serbia_6-10-2009.pdf  On May 29, 2009 National Parliament of the Republic of Serbia adopted new Law Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) that fully prohibits the possibility of commercial growing of live modified organisms, or trade with live modified organism and products derived from genetically modified organisms. With the new Law on GMO, Serbian import of soybean meal (from roundup ready soybeans) for cattle feed is no longer possible.
Organic Agriculture in Serbia_Belgrade_Serbia_6-8-2009.pdf  Serbia has around 218 certified organic farmers with organic production on approximately 5,000 hectares. Only 600 hectares are certified by the certified organizations that are accredited by the Ministry of Agriculture. Total organic production accounts about 30,000 tons of organic products. Total market value of organic products in Serbia is about $55 million. Imported organic products can be found on supermarket shelves and in specialized stores. At present, more than 90 percent of all organic...
UAE Decrees New Import Requirements for Cooked Red Meat_Dubai_United Arab Emirates_6-15-2009.pdf The UAE's Ministry of Environment and Water has issued new requirements for the importation of cooked red meat, a product previously regulated by the General Secretariat of Municipalities.  The decree states that meat must come animals that were not treated with hormones and requires both a veterinary and health certificate for shipments, these and other requirements could pose a significant challenge to U.S. exporters and regulators.  
Weekly Rice Price Update_Bangkok_Thailand_6-16-2009.pdf Domestic and export prices increased up to ten percent due to limited exportable supplies, particularly for parboiled rice.  Exporters are facing unexpected supply difficulties as the government stock release decision is still being reviewed by the Cabinet.  The stock release review has forced some exporters to source white rice from the domestic market.  Any increases in current export prices are expected to be temporary as the government is releasing a portion of the contracts which have been ...

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Sparkling Wine War: Pitting Trademark Rights Against Geographic Indications

The May/June 2009 issue of Business Law Today is all about food. The article, The Sparkling Wine War: Pitting Trademark Rights Against Geographic Indications

By Carol Robertson, provides an nice overview of the US-EU debate on geographic indicators for wine.

"Masquerading as Champagne might be legal, but it isn't fair," reads a recent ad sponsored by the Office of Champagne, USA, a trade group dedicated to the promotion of the interests of French champagne producers. What is their complaint?—that certain U.S. winemakers are legally entitled to produce sparkling wine in this country and label it "champagne."

The Historic Mystique of Champagne

Champagne (in French "le champagne") is a beverage produced in La Champagne. This region of Northeastern France is known for its chalky soil, which contributes to the unique flavor of a sparkling wine that has long been a favorite celebration beverage—at marriages, births, and, of course, the New Year. Since the early nineteenth century, American vintners have attempted to produce a sparkling wine that would rival champagne. In 1842, Louis Longworth of Cincinnati (known as the father of the American wine industry) produced a bubbly wine from the native Catawba grape that was compared favorably to the French product. In 1876, a New York Times correspondent encountered a sparkling wine called "Eclipse" at Buena Vista Winery in California. By the end of the nineteenth century, a number of U.S. producers were making sparkling wine and were not hesitant to call their products "champagne." Among these were the Korbel brothers, who began producing a sparkling wine called "champagne" in California in 1882. . . .

Place Name Versus Trademark

There is a conflict between European wine producers and American wine producers over whether greater importance should be placed on the name of a place where a wine is produced or the brand under which it is sold. In America, historically, the trademark has been the most important feature, not the provenance of the wine. But European producers have long recognized the importance of "terroir"—that wine made from grapes grown in a particular location will have a unique taste. The word "terroir" has no English translation. It means place, certainly, but also it implies soil characteristics, climate, and altitude, for example. It represents also the learnings about wine production passed on from an earlier generation of winemakers to their followers, that is, the craft of the winemaker. France's first laws designed to protect geographic areas were enacted in the nineteenth century, as a means to deter fraudulent indication of origin. In 1919, the French created the Appellation D'Origine Contrôl&ée (AOC), which required that the true geographic origin of a wine be accurately represented and which remains in effect to this day. Starting in 1989, the European Union (EU) passed a number of regulations governing wine products with a goal of preventing descriptions that were incorrect or were likely to cause confusion or to mislead consumers. These regulations were intended to apply not only to wines produced in Europe but also to wines originating in other countries. They specifically prohibit the use of the name of a given region in the EU to describe an imported wine. . . .

Europe's Stance: Geography Controls

For comparable reasons, Europeans wish to protect their place names. The French have long railed against the common practice of U.S. winemakers to indiscriminately borrow French place names—such as Champagne, Burgundy, or Chablis—to label wines that do not come from these specific regions and that do not even closely resemble them. . . .

Robertson’s whole article is available here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Better Training for Safer Food" initiative gets off to Africa

A "Better Training for Safer Food in Africa" (BTSF) initiative was launched in an effort to help developing countries improve their food safety systems for the benefit of their populations and economies.  BTSF has provided training to both European and third country officials who are responsible for checking that EU rules related to food, feed, plant health, animal health and welfare are properly applied.

Jointly with the African Union Commission (AUC), a specific programme targeted at Africa has been now set up, with the view to promoting compliance with international Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures as key to bilateral trade, both within Africa and with the rest of the world, and to increasing the protection of citizens. Under "BTSF-Africa" the EC and the AUC will jointly coordinate the implementation, from 2009 to 2010, of seven capacity building activities worth around €10 million. The key objective is to support food safety mainly by the transfer of technical expertise and policy advice in areas of food safety and quality across Africa.

More information is available here and here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

UK Revised Food Safety Act guide

The Food Standards Agency has published its revised guidance on the legal requirements of the Food Safety Act 1990 for food businesses in England, Scotland and Wales. The Food Safety Act 1990 – A Guide for Food Businesses (2009 Edition) is at http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/fsactguide.pdf

Saturday, April 25, 2009

EU Food Law Update April 2009

European Union Food Law Update - IV (Leibovitch) April 2009 is  now available on the National Agriculture Law Center website.

Also available: 

European Union Food Law Update - III (Coutrelis) 2006

European Union Food Law Update - II (Coutrelis) 2006

European Union Food Law Update (Coutrelis) 2005

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Report on Mexico Labeling Requirements

The USDA FAS Attache Report, MEXICO, Labeling Requirements (April 14, 2009) has been released.  This report covers the general labeling specifications rule for pre-packaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages. Currently the regulation is under review by the Mexican government.  Read this report here

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New USDA Regional Web Pages

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) added four regional Web pages:  Western Hemisphere, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia and Oceania.  These regional pages link to country pages, which provide essential demographic, economic and political information.  The regional pages are available here.


In addition, the FAS Web site includes many searchable databases providing export, import, production, supply, and distribution data, as well as export sales reports and market reports from U.S. agricultural trade experts stationed in 97 offices around the world. The database information is available here.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Cheat Death" Fruit Juice Ad Banned

An advertisement for POM Wonderful read, “Cheat Death. The antioxidant power of pomegranate juice.” POM Wonderful offered the “no one would take it serious” defense. While consumers are unlikely to believe the juice would make them immortal, some may believe the product somehow contributed to a longer life, concluded the UK Advertising Standards Authority. The claim for longer life was not substantiated and was banned. The article in the UK Telegraph is here.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Nutrition labels and health claims: the global regulatory environment

This World Health Organization (WHO) document reviews the global regulatory environment for nutrition labeling and health claims.  It provides an overview of existing international, regional, and national regulations. It compiles, categorizes, and tabulates international, regional, and national regulations, and compares differing regulatory systems in 74 countries and areas. It also reviews regulations on the quantitative declaration of ingredients (information which indicates to consumers the proportion of healthful and less healthful components of the food product).

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Health Canada Guidance on Food-like Natural Health Products

In Canada, natural health products and foods are regulated under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and its regulations. Products that meet the definition of a “natural health product” under the Natural Health Product Regulations (NHPR) are subject to the FDA. Products that are “food” as defined by the FDA are subject to regulation under the food requirements of the FDA and to Parts A, B and D of the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR).

Since implementing the Natural Health Product Regulations (NHPR) in 2004, Health Canada has received several hundred product license applications for products in food format (e.g., energy drinks, vitamin or mineral supplements in candy, and water with added vitamins or minerals). These products have characteristics of both natural health products (NHPs) and foods. There have been regulatory challenges in classifying these products. Are they food-like NHPs or NHPs in food form? 

Health Canada provides a new guidance document that outlines the principles and consideration to be applied in determining if a product in a food format is a natural health product.

Challenge to EU Health Claims Review System

Shane Starling, NutraIngredients.com (Mar. 27, 2009) suggests that a several European industry groups are dissatisfied with the approach being taken by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in it assessment of health claims. A number of claims submitted for assessment under Article 14 have received negative opinions from EFSA.

The European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM), the European Botanical Forum and the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance are considering challenging the controversial legislation in the European Court of Justice on the grounds that it breaches the free trade principles embodied in the European Union Treaty.


The EHPM is concerned that the EFSA intends assess article 13 claims (claims based on generally accepted scientific evidence) with the same “gold standard” approach used with assessing dossiers submitted under article 14 claims (disease risk reduction claims and children’s claims).  EFSA has not released any opinions on the 4000 claims submitted under Article 13.1

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Global Food Contact Conference in Frankfurt, Germany

Dr. P. Vincent Hegarty, Founding Director and Professor Emeritus, Institute for Food Laws & Regulations, will be speaking at the forthcoming Global Food Contact Legislation 2009 conference in Frankfurt, Germany.  The conference is from Tuesday 23rd June until Thursday 25th June, 2009.

The conference examines the food contact laws for Europe, the US, Asia and other markets. This event will include expert analysis of updates to food contact legislation for countries including Ireland, Turkey, US, Argentina, Canada, China, Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Also included is a comprehensive overview of European regulatory changes and challenges and discussion of the most current issues by top legal, regulatory and industrial specialists.

You may find out further details of the program at www.globalfoodcontact.com. You may receive a 25% discount on the conference price if telephone or email Natalie King on +44 (0) 1372 802164 or natalie.king@pira-international.com and mention the Institute for Food Laws & Regulations by April 28.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Summer Academy of Food Law & Policy - South of Italy

A Summer Academy in Food Law & Policy which will take palce in Apulia, Italy on 20-24 July at the beautiful XVII century Masseria Chiancone, a farmhouse immersed in an oasis of natural beauty, typically Mediterranean, along the cost of Puglia, Italy (http://www.masseriachiancone.it/).

The academy will offer scientific reflection and discourse on key legal and policy issues in European and World food law by following an innovative and interdisciplinary approach. This will be achieved through a dynamic, informal and highly interactive five-day programme, which includes lectures, presentations, discussion groups and social activities. The faculty of the academy consists of food experts coming from relevant authorities, European and US institutions and agencies, academia, industry and legal practice. Scholarships will be available.

To know more, please check at: http://www.lexxion.eu/conferences/effl09

Why food law? As I recently wrote, "this dynamic and emotive area of law provides not only an excellent vehicle for understanding the evolution of the European integration process, by illustrating the progressive abandonment of the original functionalist approach to integration, but also represents a mini-history of European law. As all EU law students are aware, an entire course of European Law may successfully be taught by focusing exclusively on the European Courts' case law developed on food, such as pasta, feta cheese or chocolate, and drinks, such as beer, wine, liquors or energy drinks" (A. Alemanno, Trade in Food - Regulatory and Judicial Approaches in the EC and the WTO, Cameron May: London, 2007).

I look forward to seeing some of you in beautiful Apulia this summer!

Alberto Alemanno
Academic Director - 1st EFFL Summer Academy in Food Law & Policy

Monday, March 23, 2009

Standards Urged for Green Labelling

“The Environmental Audit Committee, in a new report, said that the [UK] government has a role to play in policing the use of environmental labels on products and should intervene to remove those found to be inaccurate or misleading.” Jane Byrne, Foodproductiondaily.com (Mar. 23, 2009). The Committee claims than an increasing number of companies are engaged in making meaningless green claims, or greenwashing. The whole story is available here.

Last July, the European Commission proposed including food products in an eco-labeling scheme. However, the proposal was rejected by the European Parliament until the Commission could study whether reliable environmental criteria could be defined for food.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spotlight again on cloned animals

Jan Byrne, Foodproductivitydailly.com (Mar. 12, 2009)

“A review of cloning is underway at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) following a request from the European Commission for further advice on the implications of the technology for food safety, animal health and welfare and the environment.

EFSA has initiated a public consultation period to collate data to support the review, and the agency said that it aims to build on its July 2008 recommendations regarding clones.

“The Commission has asked EFSA to further investigate the causes of disease and mortality in clones during the gestation period and at early stages of life, and also requested that the agency consider the extent to which current knowledge on the cloning of cattle and pigs can be applied to sheep, goats and chicken.

. . . .

Complete story here.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

New "gluten free" labeling rules in EU

Under new European Union food labeling rules, only foods that contain less than 20 parts of gluten in a million (ppm) will be allowed to use the term “gluten-free” on their packaging. Previously, a food with this label could have contained up to 10 times more than this.

Some foods made using cereals that have been specially processed to remove most of the gluten, but which contain less than 100 ppm, will be able to make the claim “very low gluten” on the packaging. Manufacturers can use the new labeling system immediately; however, products do not have to comply with the new rules until Jan. 1, 2012. For more information, see the Food Standards Agency release and EU Commission Regulation no 41/2009.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Food Regulation: Law, Science, Policy, and Practice

Neal Fortin’s new book, Food Regulation: Law, Science, Policy, and Practice, is now available.

If you would like more information:

  • The Summary of Contents (HTML) is available here.
  • The full Table of Contents (PDF) is available here.
  • Chapter 1 is available here.
  • The index is available here.