12 January - 20 June 2016

Legislation headlines

23 Jan 13

**Tate and Lyle take European Commission to court
**MCS remove mackerel from its latest Fish to Eat list
**Amending regulations as regards the food additive potassium diacetate
**FSA notified of two breaches of BSE testing regulations
**MPs concerned about European Union’s Food Supplements Directive
**EU Regulation introducing changes to the use of food additives containing aluminium
**Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova on PGI
**EFSA sets average requirements for energy intake
**EFSA looks at public health risks from foods of non-animal origin
**Scientific opinions

**Tate and Lyle take European Commission to court
Tate and Lyle Sugars are fighting EU legislation which has caused sugar prices to rise, due to restrictions being placed on imports. The company has filed three lawsuits against the European Commission and has appeared at The General Court of the European Union to fight the legislation, which has “destroyed jobs” and has meant the London refinery is at risk of closure.  Conservative MEP Marina Yannakoudakis who has met with the vice president of the European Commission Joaquín Almunia is quoted as saying: “High prices are bad for consumers and we can ill afford to lose jobs in London and beyond at a time of austerity.  Refineries across Europe have stopped running at full capacity and there have been lay-offs with more jobs threatened.  If the European Commission were to allow more flexible imports of raw sugar, refineries would be able to expand in order to meet the increased demand. Cane refiners need to be given a fair chance to compete.”  The Manufacturer reports that since reforms were made by the EU in 2006, European sugar prices have risen by over 15% and are now 80% higher than prices in the rest of the world.

**MCS remove mackerel from its latest Fish to Eat list
The Marine Conservation Society has removed mackerel from its latest Fish to Eat list, and has classified it as a fish to eat only occasionally.  This is due to overfishing of the stock and the subsequent suspension of the north east Atlantic stock’s Marine Stewardship Council certification, meaning it is no longer considered a sustainable fishery.  MCS Fisheries Officer, Bernadette Clarke, says numbers of mackerel have increasingly been found further northwest in the Atlantic. “The stock has moved into Icelandic and Faroese waters, probably following their prey of small fish, crustaceans and squid. As a result both countries have begun to fish more mackerel than was previously agreed. The total catch is now far in excess of what has been scientifically recommended and previously agreed upon by all participating countries. Negotiations to introduce new catch allowances have so far failed to reach agreement. If people want to continue eating mackerel they should ensure they buy it from as sustainable a source as possible. That means fish caught locally using traditional methods -  including handlines, ringnets and drift nets - or from suppliers who are signatories to the principles of the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance.”

**Amending regulations as regards the food additive potassium diacetate
An application for authorisation of the use of potassium diacetate as a preservative was submitted on 27 September 2010 and was made available to the Member States.  Potassium diacetate is requested for use as an alternative to the food additive sodium diacetate E 262 (ii) which is used as a growth inhibitor of microorganisms. The replacement of sodium diacetate E 262 (ii) by potassium diacetate can contribute to the reduction of dietary sodium intake. Potassium diacetate should be authorised to be used in the same way as potassium acetate. Therefore in the Annexes to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 the current name of additive E 261, i.e. ‘potassium acetate’, should be replaced by the expression ‘potassium acetates’ covering both potassium acetate and potassium diacetate. Specifications for potassium diacetate should be included in Regulation (EU) No 231/2012. In the Annex to that Regulation, the number E 261 (ii) should be assigned to potassium diacetate and the number for potassium acetate, currently designated as E 261, should be changed to E 261 (i). This renumbering has no consequences on the labelling requirements set out in Articles 22 and 23 of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008.

**FSA notified of two breaches of BSE testing regulations
There have been two separate incidents in which cattle aged over 72 months entered the food chain without being tested for BSE. The incidents involved a total of three animals. The risk to human health is very low as it is very unlikely that any of the cattle would have been infected. The specified risk material (SRM), parts of the cattle most likely to carry BSE infection, had been removed in each case.  (FSA)

**MPs concerned about European Union’s Food Supplements Directive
The former Sports Minister Kate Hoey, Dr John Pugh, the Liberal Democrat MP, and Marcus Jones, the Conservative MP have written to the Daily Telegraph detailing their concerns on the European Union’s Food Supplements Directive.  They claim that a renewed push by the new European Commissioner Tonio Borg to standardise the type and size of food supplements could destroy our health food industry and cost Britain thousands of jobs. Currently EU countries police their own industries.   The MPs are calling on Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary to fight against the plans. The letter states: “Such a move would be contentious here in Britain where millions of people have consumed safe higher-potency vitamin and mineral supplements for many decades, with no evidence of significant harm.   Were maximum permitted levels for such nutrients to be set as restrictively as is being sought, not only would consumer choice be restricted, but the viability of hundreds of independent health food retailers would be threatened.”

**EU Regulation introducing changes to the use of food additives containing aluminium
The consultation will give stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the likely financial impact arising from the restrictions on the use of aluminium-containing additives.  New EU legislation has been introduced which restricts the use of aluminium-containing food additives such as aluminium silicates (commonly used in as anti-caking agents), and aluminium lakes of colours. The legislation also restricts the use of SALP, as a raising agent, to one product only: sponge cakes produced from contrasting coloured segments, held together by jam or spreading jelly, encased in a flavoured sugar paste (i.e. Battenberg style cakes). (FSA)

**Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova on PGI
The Commission has negotiated, on behalf of the Union, an Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Moldova on the protection of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs (the ‘Agreement’).  The Agreement will allow the reciprocal protection of the geographical indications of the Union and the Republic of Moldova, as well as contribute to the approximation of legislation among the neighbouring countries of the Union.

**EFSA sets average requirements for energy intake
EFSA has set average requirements for energy intake for adults, infants and children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. EFSA’s scientific advice is laid down in the latest of a series of scientific opinions on dietary reference values produced by the Authority’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies, on request from the European Commission. The estimates will help policymakers to develop nutrition strategies that promote public health, including the establishment of food-based dietary guidelines.

**EFSA looks at public health risks from foods of non-animal origin
EFSA has published the first scientific assessment in Europe on public health risks posed by pathogens that may contaminate food of non-animal origin such as fruit, vegetable, salads, sees, nuts, cereals, herbs and spices. The scientific opinion compares the proportion of human cases reported in outbreaks of food-borne disease, from 2007 to 2011, related to food of non-animal origin with those associated with food of animal origin in Europe. EFSA experts also identified and ranked combinations of foods and pathogens most often linked to foodborne illness from foods of non-animal origin.  The Panel on Biological Hazard who published the scientific opinion found that foods of animal origin continue to be the source of the majority of all documented and reported outbreaks (90%). However the number of outbreaks, human cases, and hospitalisations associated with food of non-animal origin has increased over this period.  Outbreaks associated with these foods tend to involve more human cases but are usually less severe than those associated with foods of animal origin. However, when considering trends from 2007 to 2011, showing that outbreaks related to foods on non-animal origin were associated with 10% of outbreaks, 26% of human cases, 35% of hospitalisations and 46% of deaths, one should consider the high health impact of the 2011 sprout-associated outbreak of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli. If data from this large outbreak are excluded, foods of non-animal origin were associated with 5% of all deaths from reported foodborne outbreaks.

**Scientific opinions

Scirrhia pini pest risk assessment

Modification of the withdrawal period for Coxidin®

Bacillus amyloliquefaciens NCIMB 30229 for all species

Use of the EFSA Standard Sample Description for the reporting of data on the control of pesticide residues in food and feed

Modification of the existing MRLs for metrafenone in various crops

AHAW review of the EU zoonoses report on trends and sources—TOR 2–7

Review of the existing MRLs for cyazofamid

Safety of medium viscosity white mineral oils as food additive

Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment of the active substance plant oils/rapeseed oil

Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment for bees for the active substance clothianidin

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