EU Food Laws Changing…for the Better?

The EU law on food information for consumers (FIC) is changing which means that manufacturers can no longer hide ingredients under generic titles. And palm oil is one of those wildly used ingredients that will now come to light.

Until now, palm oil has been listed as vegetable oil but many products are starting to list the actual ingredients in anticipation of the legislation that is coming.

Many organizations, including the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe, initially fought against FIC. As the secretary general, Sabine Nafziger, for the Association said, “At first people were nervous but now they are really happy to do it because it creates a level playing field. It is good that this debate is now out there.”

As Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, BRC’s assistant director for food policy said, “There seems to be a very strong move by consumers to claim their right to know what is in their food, and that labels are as clear as possible. [But] whether that translates into a change in consumer behaviour I think is still to be seen. For example, people asserted their right to have country of origin information and that [also] hasn’t seen any change in customer purchasing behaviour.”

China and the EU Come to Agreement

The EU has recently decided to drop its threat to levy punitive tariffs on Chinese telecoms exports. Beijing agreed to talk about limiting its exports credits to Chinese firms in the telcoms sector. showing the EU that it will heed the international binding rules on corporate subsidies.

As Karel De Gucht, the EU Trade Commissioner, said “The EU and China have resolved the telecoms case. The investigation into mobile telecommunications networks from China will not be pursued.”

Both sides have agreed that they will have an independent authority who will monitor market shares of Chinese companies in Europe and European firms that are in China. As the article on DW explained,

“Imports of Chinese telecoms equipment to the EU are worth some 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), bringing the Asian nation into fierce competition with Europe’s sector heavyweights such as Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent.”

England’s Manufucturers Want to Stay with the EU

England’s manufacturers are saying they want to remain as part of the EU, according to a recent survey. The manufacturers’ organization EEF has found that 85% of people polled would select to stay with the EU, while only 7% want to leave. The EEF presents over 6000 companies and the survey included 160 of them.

Growth in the UK manufacturing sector has definitely slowed, according to two surveys that were carried out in August. The Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was down in August from 54.8 in July to 52.5. This is the lowest reading they have had in the last 14 months.l

Commenting on the EEF poll, the chief executive Terry Scuoler said, “Despite the continued problems in the eurozone, manufacturers remain overwhelmingly of the view that our economic wellbeing is inextricably linked to the EU and, we must stay in membership.

It makes no sense to disengage from our major market and it remains fanciful to think we can just pull up the drawbridge and walk away with no consequences.”

Eastern European News

EU Offering Aid to Bulgaria

The European Commission has proposed a grant to give Bulgaria EUR 10 million in aid for flood damage. The EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council is expected to approve of this proposal. The vote on the EUR 10 million aid package for Varna and Dobrich districts will take place on Friday, according to the Bulgarian EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

Banning High Powered Hair Dryers & Other Appliances in the EU

If you live in the EU, you might want to grab that high powered hair dryer and hide it now. That’s because the hair dryer is on the list of 30 appliances that the EU is considering banning in order to curb energy consumption. A study that was commissioned by the EU has identified these 30 appliances which would be restricted.

The ban on powerful vacuum cleaners already began this week. From September 1, companies in the EU will be banned from making or importing vacuum cleaners that are above 1600 watts.

Sales have certainly risen ahead of the deadline with sales jumping for Tesco 44% in the last few nights.

As Guenther Oettinger told Germany’s Bild newspaper “We haven’t got round to these devices yet, we want to curb power consumption.” The EU Commission spokeswoman said, “It’s a study we have asked consultants to do. In the final report they will reduce 30 products to 20. In January 2015 we will look at these recommendations then select from this list what to regulate and how.”

Of course, the National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF) has urged the EU to reconsider, saying its plans are “ill thought-out”. NHF president Mark Corary pointed at the potential irony of the ban, saying that banning these items won’t reduce energy consumption since blow-drying a client’s hair will now just take longer.