Topics covered by EU officials included food safety, nutrition and communication, and sustainability

On October 6, 2023, the INC participated in an event featuring officials from the European Commission’s DG for Health and Food Safety and DG for the Environment. The event, held in Brussels, Belgium, was organized under the umbrella of FRUCOM-CEEREAL and was attended by around 60 representatives of associations and companies in the nut and dried fruit industry as well as the breakfast cereal industry.

As part of a panel discussion on food safety, Ms. Katleen Baert of the European Commission’s DG for Health and Food Safety gave an update on EFSA’s ongoing efforts to re-evaluate all food additives allowed pre-2009, as required by EU law. To date, scientific opinions have been published by EFSA on 230 of the 315 food additives required to undergo evaluation. Ms. Baert also reviewed recent steps taken with regard to sulfites and sulfur dioxide. Mr. Franz Verstraete, also from the European Commission’s DG for Health and Food Safety, discussed recent developments regarding EU policy on contaminants in food.

During a panel discussion on nutrition and communication, Ms. Stephanie Bodenbach of the European Commission’s DG for Health and Food Safety discussed two strategy papers published by the Commission. First, the Farm to Fork Strategy, based on the notion that we cannot transition to a better food system if we do not also change people’s habits, calls on business operators who shape consumer behavior to adapt their marketing strategies and product offer. And second, the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, intended as a tool for citizens to prevent cancer, includes healthy dietary recommendations.

Finally, a panel discussion on the topic of sustainable packaging revolved around the Commission’s proposal for a regulation on packaging and packaging waste. Ms. Maja Desgrées du Loû, Policy Officer for Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive at the DG for the Environment, outlined the next steps in the process (notably, a Parliamentary Committee vote in late October, followed by a plenary vote in the European Parliament in November) and explained that the goal is to adopt the regulation during the current mandate.

Photo: FRUCOM.

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