Food safety: paramount for Europe’s food and drink industry
Throughout 2012, FoodDrinkEurope continued its efforts to encourage the highest standards of food safety among Europe’s food manufacturers, producing new tools to assist its members in this regard, such as the Guidance on Food Allergen Management, as well as improving on existing tools like the Acrylamide Pamphlets.
Guidance on Food Allergen Management
In 2012, FoodDrinkEurope finalised its Guidance on Food Allergen Management for Food Manufacturers. The first of its kind, this document sets out general principles to manage specific pre-packed foods causing allergies or certain intolerances and provides sound, evidence-based, consistent information on good practice in risk management of allergenic foods for food producers.
Updated Acrylamide Pamphlets
In June 2012, FoodDrinkEurope published five revised pamphlets setting out the latest tools to help Europe’s food and drink manufacturers mitigate acrylamide formation in certain foods. The new pamphlets, which are available in almost all of the official EU languages, feature a number of key updates. These include: the introduction of information on the ‘ALARA’ principle (‘as low as reasonably achievable’) with regard to levels of acrylamide formation in foods, and also the introduction of new mitigation tools which have proven successful on an industrial scale.
Guidelines on Paper and Board
In 2012, FoodDrinkEurope developed Guidelines on the use of Paper and Board for packaging, after identifying a lack of harmonised EU legislation in this area. The Guidelines help food and drink manufacturers to decide on the most appropriate packaging materials for their products.
Working with stakeholders to ensure a safer food chain
Throughout 2012, FoodDrinkEurope, working together with other stakeholders, engaged actively with the European institutions to promote safety across the food chain. FoodDrinkEurope was involved actively in a number of bodies established under the remit of the Commission and contributed to several publications aimed at ensuring safe food chain practices.
Food Safety Platform
In 2012, FoodDrinkEurope chaired the European Food Safety Platform, which brings together key European stakeholders concerned with feed and food safety, and works to improve communication between partners on issues of mutual interest.
Roadmap on Food Contact Materials
In 2012, FoodDrinkEurope contributed to the European Commission’s consultations on the ‘Roadmap on Food Contact Materials’. Specifically, FoodDrinkEurope called for the creation of more comprehensible legislation on food contact materials for food producers, most notably, those who may not necessarily have food packaging material experts employed, such as SMEs. In addition, FoodDrinkEurope called for the establishment of new rules on the use of printing inks, varnishes and coatings in this area.
EU Catalogue of Feed Materials
In June 2012, the Regulation establishing the EU Catalogue of Feed Materials entered into force, based on a proposal compiled by the Feed Chain Task Force (FCTF) in which FoodDrinkEurope participates. FoodDrinkEurope was responsible for the ‘miscellaneous foodstuffs’ category which includes items such as confectionary and ready-to-eat meals. The Catalogue is particularly important to food manufacturers, considering that at least 25% of former foodstuffs end up in the feed chain.
Working in partnership to drive forward research and innovation
FoodDrinkEurope worked proactively throughout 2012 to help food and drink manufacturers overcome obstacles to innovation, the cornerstone for future growth and competitiveness in Europe. This involved direct engagement with the EU institutions and partnerships with other stakeholders.
In 2012, FoodDrinkEurope contributed to ongoing efforts at EU level to ensure greater legal certainty regarding the definition of nanotechnology for food uses.
In October, FoodDrinkEurope hosted its fifth Annual Stakeholder Dialogue to discuss progress on potential applications and innovation in the use of nanotechnology. The conference took place against the backdrop of uncertainty over the definition of nanotechnology, along with questions over whether and how it should be labelled if used in food production.
Novel Foods and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Following the rejection of the proposed Regulation on Novel Foods in March 2011, and the announcement that a new proposal is likely in 2013, FoodDrinkEurope has produced a paper on the reintroduction of a so-called ‘notification’ or simplified procedure in relation to novel foods which would be of particular benefit to SMEs.
In 2012, FoodDrinkEurope developed a food and drink industry position and contributed to European Commission consultations on GMO-free labelling.
European Technology Platform (ETP) ‘Food for Life’
Throughout 2012, the European Technology Platform (ETP) ‘Food for Life’ (managed by the FoodDrinkEurope secretariat) continued efforts to promote research opportunities and improve knowledge transfer (particularly to SMEs) across Europe.
In September, the ETP published its updated ‘Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda’ outlining several main goals for the ETP, namely: (i) identifying and prioritising the research needs of Europe’s food industry, (ii) coordinating research in the food sector across Europe, and (iii) encouraging the participation of SMEs in research activities through specific programmes and networks.
Joint Programming Initiatives
Over the past year, FoodDrinkEurope was involved actively in two of the European Commission’s Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs). The JPIs were established to pool national research efforts to make better use of Europe’s precious public research and innovation resources and to tackle common European challenges more effectively.
Healthy Food for Healthy Life
In 2012, FoodDrinkEurope chaired the Stakeholder Advisory Group of the JPI ‘Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ and collaborated in the drafting of the body’s first joint action entitled, “Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity Choice”.
Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change
Similarly in 2012, FoodDrinkEurope held the Vice-Chairmanship of the Stakeholder Advisory Group of the JPI on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change. This group brings together 21 countries committed to building an integrated European Research Area which addresses the interconnected challenges of sustainable agriculture, food security and the impacts of climate change.