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Support voluntary anti-obesity efforts, industry urges EC presidency

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 17-Jan-2013

Support voluntary anti-obesity efforts, industry urges EC presidency

Opposition to food taxes and support for voluntary industry actions to tackle obesity feature on a wish list of food industry priorities for the Irish presidency of the Council of the European Union, published by FoodDrinkEurope.

The Irish EU Council presidency runs from January 1 to the end of June this year, and the European food industry body has urged it to support the industry in four broad areas: Increasing industry competitiveness; innovation; promoting balanced diets; and sustainability.

In particular, FoodDrinkEurope highlights its role in promoting balanced diets and healthy lifestyles, especially in light of the Danish decision to drop a tax on saturated fat late last year.

“FoodDrinkEurope urges the Irish Presidency and other Member States not to resort to additional, discriminatory taxes on food and drink products,” it said, adding that voluntary industry efforts to reformulate their products is one area in which progress has been made toward tackling obesity – although it admitted that it could go further.

The industry association also urged harmonised interpretation of the Regulation on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers (FIC), which was adopted in 2011, but details of how it should be implemented are still being thrashed out.

In addition it asked for more clarity on novel foods regulation, including moving quickly if the definition of nanotechnology were to require changing, a mechanism to finance regional research infrastructure, and more clarity on how to move forward with article 13.1 health claims that are currently ‘on hold’.

On the subject of improving competitiveness, it called on the Irish presidency to prioritise the Commission’s proposal to help Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) gain better access to international markets in the next six months.

“FoodDrinkEurope calls on the Irish Presidency to work closely with Europe’s food manufacturers, together with other stakeholders and in partnership to help deliver on their Presidency Priorities and to help ensure the continued global competitiveness of Europe’s largest manufacturing industry,” it said.

The full report is available to download by clicking here .

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