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Tough alcopops labeling rules proposed

The European Parliament has called in a detailed report for mandatory labelling of alcoholic drinks warning consumers about the health risks of heavy drinking. The parliament pushed for wide adoption of pack labels including warnings that alcohol can cause health and mental health problems, is addictive and can harm a foetus. MEPs called for a special focus on beverages such as alcopops targeted at young consumers, “to ensure their alcoholic nature can be clearly identified by consumers through measures such as stricter labelling requirements”. Under European Union law, member states can adopt such rules, but the parliament wants the EU to encourage such action.

EFSA food contact materials panel to be set up

The Board of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has agreed to create a new EFSA panel better able to focus on health issues associated with food packaging. The expert group would take on some tasks currently assigned to the agency’s scientific panel specialising in food additives and food contact materials. This new group will focus on food contact materials, enzymes, flavourings and processing aids, and so – said an EFSA note – “look at the safety of substances indirectly added to food, and questions related to the safety of new processes”. By contrast, a new panel on food additives and nutrient sources would investigate substances deliberately added to food.

Special colour-coded packaging imposed on EU meat by-products

The European Union (EU) scientific committee for the food chain and animal health has approved a mandatory colour-coding system for packaging containing meat by-products moved between EU member states. The system was proposed by the European Commission and includes black packaging being used for the meat by-products posing the greatest health risks, such as carcasses from which specified BSE risk material (such as spinal cords) has not been removed; yellow packaging for “lesser risk material” such as livestock dying ahead of being slaughtered; and green for the safest meat by-products – fit for human consumption but not sold as food for commercial reasons.