As with anything personalized, be it advertising, medicines or training schedules, also personalized nutrition — using information on individual characteristics to develop targeted nutritional advice, products, or services — risks being affected by the feared GDPR.  Kristof Van Quathem discusses the topic in Vitafoods’ Insights magazine of January 2019, available here.

Introduction

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (“DEFRA”) has announced a consultation regarding proposed changes to allergen labelling laws for food prepacked for direct sale in the UK.

This follows the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in July 2016, which was the result of an allergic reaction after consuming a baguette from Pret a Manger that contained sesame seeds. The coroner’s inquest in September 2018 found that Pret’s allergen labelling system was “inadequate”, as the allergen stickers on food display units (which instructed consumers to ask staff for details of allergens) were not sufficiently visible. In response, Environment Secretary Michael Gove promised an overhaul of allergen labelling law to avoid such incidents in the future. The current consultation follows Gove’s meeting with retailers, specialists and allergy groups in December 2018.

Current Position

Currently, allergen labelling in the UK is covered by the Food Information Regulation 1169/2011 (“Food Information Regulation”). The Food Information Regulation states that prepacked food must include allergen information either on the packaging or an attached label. Food business operators (“FBOs”) also have to provide allergen information for non-prepackaged food (i.e., food offered for sale without prepackaging, or packed on sales premises at the consumer’s request or prepacked for direct sale).

However, FBOs can provide allergen information for non-prepackaged food by any means they choose. The Regulation leaves it open to Member States to impose stricter allergen labelling measures. Some Member States have taken a more restrictive approach. In France, for example, allergen information for non-prepacked food must be in writing, on the food itself or close to it, in a way that excludes any uncertainty. In Ireland, all allergen information must be provided to consumers in writing, at the point of presentation, sale or supply. In contrast, the UK gave FBOs more freedom, allowing them to make allergen information for non-prepacked food available by any means they choose, including orally.


Continue Reading Proposed Changes to UK Allergen Labelling Law

Over the past months, the Government has regularly  posted technical guidance notices on what it calls a “no deal” Brexit, i.e., a scenario in which the UK and the EU will not reach an agreement and the UK will become a third country on 29 March 2019.  The UK Government has now published four notices

The “Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity” is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. It entered into force on 12 October 2014.

The Nagoya Protocol imposes a complex set of multi-jurisdictional compliance obligations on businesses active in the pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics and other life science sectors. It now has more than 100 contracting parties, including the EU. The key legal source in the EU is Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014 on compliance measures for users from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization in the Union.
Continue Reading German government has started enforcement of the Nagoya Protocol and reviews compliance of pharmaceutical companies

On 4 January 2018, the European Commission published a draft implementing regulation laying down rules for the application of Article 26(3) of Regulation (EU) N° 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the provision of food information to consumers (“FIC”), as regards the rules for indicating the country of origin

On 19 August 2016, France adopted Decree No 2016-1137 introducing mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL) for dairy and meat in processed foods.  The national measures strengthen the regulatory framework that exists at the EU level, which already imposes COOL requirements on specific foodstuffs, such as unprocessed and pre-packed swine, poultry, sheep and goat meat (Art. 26(2) of EU Regulation 1169/2011 of 25 October 2011), unprocessed beef and beef products (EU Regulation No 1760/2000 of 17 July 2000), fruit and vegetables, honey, etc.  After receiving the green light from the French State Council (“Conseil d’Etat”) and the European Commission, the trial period will now run for a period of two years, starting on 1 January 2017 until the end of 2018.
Continue Reading French Pilot on Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) for Dairy and Meat in Processed Foods

On 14 July 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its decision in Case C-19/15 Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb v Innova Vital GmbH on the application of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation 1924/2006 (“NHCR”) to business-to-business (“B2B”) commercial communications.  The CJEU ruled that B2B communications that were promotional in nature came under the scope of the NHCR even though they are not specifically directed at “the final consumer”.
Continue Reading B2B or not B2B: Application of the NHCR to Business-to-Business Commercial Communications

The UK has enacted new legislation to address the issue of so-called ‘legal highs’ following a number of cases of paranoia, seizures, hospitalisation and even death after consumption of certain psychoactive substances.  The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (the “Act”) was granted Royal Assent on 28 January 2016.  It is expected to come into force on 6 April 2016.  The Act makes it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, possess in a custodial institution, import or export psychoactive substances.
Continue Reading The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016: An Example of Poor Drafting and Unintended Consequences for Food?

A new Novel Food Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 (“Regulation”) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 11 December 2015. The Regulation aims to make it easier for food business operators to place novel foods and food ingredients on the EU market, while ensuring high level of consumer protection.

Under the Regulation, novel food is defined as food that has not been consumed to any significant degree in the EU before May 1997 (when the first novel food legislation entered into force). This can be newly developed, innovative food or food produced using new technologies and production processes as well as food traditionally eaten outside of the EU. The definition now also includes food consisting of engineered nanomaterials and derived from animal clones. The Regulation also makes it clear that insects can fall under the definition of a novel food. The Regulation introduces the following main changes:
Continue Reading New Novel Foods Regulation: A Step Towards a Simpler and Faster Procedure?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is launching an ambitious project of public access to data that it collects and holds through the launch of a scientific “data warehouse.” EFSA announced this initiative on March 2, 2015, with the aim to create an “open science organisation” and increase public access to data that it holds. The ultimate goal is to enhance scientific progress by allowing the use of data by third parties for other purposes.
Continue Reading EFSA Grants Public Access to Data through Scientific “Data Warehouse”