Food & Agribusiness Group Update

Author:Ms Isabel Foley, Deborah Spence, Orla M. Clayton, Danielle Conaghan, James Lawless and Ciara Farrell
Profession:Arthur Cox
 
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INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this briefing is to provide an update on two recent developments in the area of nutrition and health claims, and advertising of food generally, both at an EU and Irish level.

The European Commission has identified nutrition and health claims on food products as an area of focus at a European legislative and policy level, as evidenced by the inclusion of the relevant legislation in last year's Better Regulation Communication (the "Communication"). Further to the Communication guidelines, the European Commission published a Roadmap on the evaluation of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods1 (the "2006 Regulation"), in October 2015 which outlines the purpose, content and scope of the evaluation. The Communication provides for evaluations and fitness checks across a wide range of policy areas and legislation. A refocused emphasis on nutrition and health claims can also be seen at a national level with the inclusion of new rules regulating  the use of such claims in the seventh regulatory code recently published by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland ("ASAI").

In this briefing we look at the recent Roadmap published by the European Commission and the new advertising standards code issued by the ASAI.

BETTER REGULATION COMMUNICATION

Better Regulation Communications are a tool used by the European Commission to ensure that EU policies are drafted, implemented and reviewed in a transparent, empirically-reliable manner with appropriate input from involved stakeholders. The process starts with the publication of a Roadmap (or an Inception Impact Assessment if greater detail is required) by the European Commission, which allows industry stakeholders to submit their observations on existing legislation and planned initiatives to the European Commission.

The 2006 Regulation was brought into force to enable EU consumers to make healthier and more informed choices in respect of their food consumption. It regulates the types of nutrition and health claims which can be used in the labelling, presentation and advertising of food products. Under the 2006 Regulation, there are two types of claims: (i) nutrition claims and (ii) health claims.

As defined in the 2006 Regulation, a "nutrition claim" is "any claim which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular beneficial nutritional properties..." due to its energy value and/or the nutrients or substances it contains such as...

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