Thank God it’s Friday! Quick news from the food world (Week 45)

Here’s my article selection of the week:

EU

– Environment Committee backs flexibility for EU countries to ban GMO crops, from European Parliament ENVI Committee: long-awaited draft plans to allow EU member states to restrict, or ban, the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms on their own territory even if it is allowed at EU level won the support of the Environment Committee on Tuesday. MEPs voted to remove the Council-backed idea of a phase of negotiations with the GMO company, and supported plans to allow member states to ban GMO crops on environmental grounds.

– Italy cracks whip on health claim abusers – fines could reach €5m, by Shane Starling+, on Nutraingredients: regulators in Italy’s €1.2bn food supplements market are cracking the harshest whips against health claims abusers in the EU – a firm was recently fined €250,000 – but will the wounds be deep enough to change the market?

 Fears that German avian flu outbreak could spread, by Ed Bedington, on Globalmeatnews.com: animal health experts are continuing to monitor the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 in Germany as the yearly migration of wild birds continues to cause concerns the condition might spread.

CHINA

– China Health Food: New Regulations on Nutritional Supplements, by Rachel Shen, on Chemlinked.com: on Nov. 5, 2014, CFDA released the draft of Administrative Provisions on Nutritional Supplements and Requirements on Dossiers for Nutritional Supplements, which gives detailed instructions on regulatory requirements for nutritional supplements in China. The period for public consultation is until Nov. 30, 2014.

NUTRITION

– Mediterranean diet has ‘lasting’ health benefits, say researchers, by Nathan Gray+, on Nutraingredients.com: the health benefits of switching to a Mediterranean style diet and upping the amount of time spent exercising for a period of just eight weeks can still be seen a year after stopping the regime, according to a new study.

USA

– Food Fraud: Money Scam and Health Hazard, by Beth Krietsch, on Foodsafetynews: despite the common belief that food fraud in the United States is a rarity, the globalized nature of our food supply chain means many of our favorite foods and ingredients travel far and wide before they reach our plates, making adulteration and other types of food fraud a considerate problem here as well.

– New App Shows Health Inspection Records for Nearby Restaurants, by James Andrews, on Foodsafetynews.com.

– Revised FSMA Provisions Need More Tweaks, by Lydia Zuraw, on Foodsafetynews.com: the public is generally pleased with the revised provisions of four rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), but the public comments at the Food and Drug Administration’s public meeting Thursday suggest that the agency may have more tweaking to do.

– Unilever: “Just Mayo” Misleads Consumers Because It’s Not “Mayo”, by David Ter Molen, on FoodIdentityblog.com: on October 31, 2014, Unilever filed suit in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey against Hampton Creek, Inc. for false advertising and unfair competition for selling an egg-free spread under the brand name “Just Mayo.” According to Unilever, the lack of any eggs in the product precludes it from being labeled as “mayonnaise” under federal regulations and consumers are further misled in this regard by the egg on the product label.

Thank God it’s Friday! Quick News from the food world (Week 43)

Here’s my article’s selection of the week:

EU

– Author: EU health claims laws cannot be bent for botanicals, by Bert Schwitters, on nutraingredients.com: nutrition author, blogger and harsh critic of the EU’s health claim laws, Bert Schwitters, says any attempt to create separate rules for more than 1500 on-hold botanical claim applications is doomed to failure in this guest article;

– Should energy drinks be age-restricted like alcohol? WHO official asks in report, by Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+, on nutraingredients.com: energy drink consumption among young people, particularly in connection with alcohol, presents a significant public health concern that warrants further research and regulation, according to a report authored by World Health Organisation (WHO) officials.

– GM regulations hold back innovation, say UK researchers, by Caroline Scott-Thomas+, on foodnavigator.com: current European restrictions on genetically modified (GM) crops could hold back crop innovation needed to ensure food security, claims a UK government-funded research body.

CHINA

– Amidst Public Controversy China Debates GMO Development, by John Balzano, on Forbes: an interesting article about China’s approach to GMOs and the doubts between treating GMOs like any other food and regulating them in a more specific way;

– China lifts 2013 ban on Fonterra infant formula ingredients, by Mark Astley+ , on dairyreporter.com: China has lifted its ban on the import of Fonterra two infant formula ingredients, more than a year after it was implemented in the midst of the 2013 botulism scare.

INDIA

– HC bans import of food additive Allura Red, on business-standard.com: the High  banned import of food additive Allura Red AC, also a colouring agent, after the country’s food safety authority admitted it was a prohibited chemical.

TAIWAN

 In pics: Two months of food scandals rocks Taiwan, by RJ Whitehead, on foodproductiondaily.com: recent reports that international furniture retailer Ikea has been using expired milk in its ice cream is the latest scandal to rock Taiwan. We take a look at a tense two months for food authorities and consumers as some of the island’s worst abuses came to light.

– New rules in Kaohsiung will give whistleblowers handsome cash reward, on focustaiwan.tw: Kaohsiung’s city council amended municipal food safety rules to offer whistleblowers 60 percent of fines levied on convicted companies — the highest cash award offered by any jurisdiction in Taiwan.

USA

– Quick fixes could quell rising tide of undeclared allergen food recalls, by Elizabeth Crawford, on foodnavigator-usa.com: simple changes in how food manufacturers handle and trace ingredients, packages and labels at production facilities could reduce dramatically the number of recalls due to undeclared allergens, which make up the vast majority of food recalls, according to FDA.

– Appeals Court Won’t Tamper With COOL, But Keeping It Could Be Costly, on foodsafetynews.coma decision by the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stated that, unless the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue, domestic courts are fine with U.S. Department of Agriculture rules that require producers to keep track and report on the label on the birthplace, residence, and location at passing for each hunk of meat sold at retail in the U.S. regardless of the burden or cost.

– Report: Bait-and-Switch Tactics Found in One-Third of U.S. Shrimp Sales, on foodsafetynews.com: in the only known U.S. study using DNA testing on retail and restaurant shrimp, Oceana confirmed that 30 percent of the 143 products tested from 111 grocery stores and restaurants were misrepresented. It also found that consumers are often provided with little information about the shrimp they purchase, including where and how it was caught or farmed, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to make informed choices.

WHO – NUTRITION LABELLING

– WHO calls for standardised nutrition labelling, by Caroline Scott-Thomas+, on dairyreporter.com: the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for a more unified approach to front-of-pack nutrition labelling.