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Health and Nutrition in Current EU Food Law: A Systematic Review journal article

Maria El Gemayel, Hanna Schebesta

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 19 (2024), Issue 3, Page 119 - 135

This research explores the capacity in which the EU's food legal framework covers nutrition and health aspects. Recent policy actions in the European Union (EU) focus on nutrition-related health, given the rising trend of unhealthy dietary patterns in the European region. However, setting relevant health and nutrition policy objectives is complex when the legislative framework for these objectives is not clearly defined. To explore this topic, we systematically reviewed EU food law and extracted all indicators for health and nutrition. We then studied the indicators' relationships to one another and their role in legislation. Key findings suggest selective frameworks for health and nutrition. Health is mainly addressed through food safety, and nutrition is addressed though an objective approach to information to consumers and compositional requirements. Despite these selective frameworks, we found that food law has the potential to define and develop a nutrition and health nexus that targets both ends of the food chain: production and consumption. This starts with the alignment of health and nutrition objectives in legislation and policy. Keywords: European Union, food law, health, nutrition, legislation, policy


Tour de Table: Farm to Fork Law Update journal article

Francesco Cazzini, Mirta Alessandrini, Silvia Rolandi, Chiara Macchi, Saide Esra Akdogan, Hanna Schebesta

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 19 (2024), Issue 3, Page 110 - 118

The article is the second of a periodic update of the progressing Farm to Fork (F2F) laws in the making. This second edition makes an appraisal of the legislative initiatives in the Farm to Fork Strategy by making a ‘Tour de Table’. We report on the main changes and developments of selected legal actions proposed, notably: the umbrella actions (section II); the actions relevant for food safety-technology, quality, and information (sections III); as well as food business responsibility (section IV). We conclude with our observations about the future of the F2F laws in the EU (section V).


How to Save the Farm to Fork Strategy: A Two-Phased Approach journal article

Hanna Schebesta

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 18 (2023), Issue 4, Page 231 - 238

This article provides a legal perspective on how the sustainability turn in food law can be ensured in the long run. It argues that the imminent EU proposal for a legislative Framework for Sustainable Food Systems (FSFS), the cornerstone of the Farm to Fork efforts, cannot immediately answer to all sustainability challenges, and that it is therefore necessary to conceive the EU sustainable food system transformation as a process that stretches into a second policy phase beyond the Farm to Fork Strategy. Overall, the article asks how some of the limitations of the policy can be overcome and proposes legal mechanisms that can support the transition towards a more sustainable EU food system. The article gives an overview of the current status of the Farm to Fork Strategy (section II) and shows that new conceptualisations of food, notably food as a common good and food systems thinking, have far-reaching implications for food regulation (section III). After summarising what is known about the outlines of the FSFS proposal at this moment in time (IV), the article analyses shortcomings in the current approach, and proposes to recognise the need for a second, additional policy phase after the Farm to Fork Strategy (section V). The article suggests that the FSFS should use a staggered institutionalisation approach in order to embed legal commitments to future EU sustainability processes and law-making in such a second phase. Lastly, the article examines what can and should be achieved by the FSFS in the first stage in the proposal to be tabled in 2023, and makes recommendations for the legal design of the FSFS (section VI).


Tour de Table: Farm to Fork Law Update journal article

Hanna Schebesta, Mirta Alessandrini, Francesco Cazzini, Chiara Macchi, Maria José Plana-Casado, Silvia Rolandi

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 17 (2022), Issue 3, Page 208 - 218

The article is the first of a periodic update of the progressing Farm to Fork laws in the making. This first edition takes stock of the legislative initiatives in the Farm to Fork Strategy, by making a ‘Tour de Table’: we analyse the potential of the F2F Communication to effect legal change (Section II) and report on the developments of selected legal actions proposed, notably: the umbrella actions (Section III); the actions relevant for food safety, quality, and information (Section IV); as well as food business responsibility (Section V). We conclude with our observations about the future of the F2F laws in the EU (Section VI).


The Internal Market, Incomplete: EU, Dutch and Belgian Legislation on Maximum Food Fortification with Micronutrients journal article

Lisa N. van der Meer, Hanna Schebesta

European Food and Feed Law Review, Volume 15 (2020), Issue 3, Page 212 - 230

The article shows that food fortification legislation at the EU level leaves the achievement of the internal market incomplete. Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 on the addition of vitamins, minerals and certain other substances to foods regulates the addition of micronutrients to food. A regulatory check of two markets in the European Union (EU) shows that EU countries at national level take diverging approaches to food fortification. In the Netherlands, food fortification with vitamin A (in the form of retinoid), selenium, copper and zinc is prohibited if it concerns food fortification in the strict sense. This regime is subject to an exemption authorisation scheme. The main reason why food fortification with some substances is not allowed in the Netherlands is because the range between the Recommended Daily Average (RDA) and the maximum Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is too small. A safe level of intake would then not be much higher than the RDA. In this article, the different ranges between the RDA’s and the UL in the Netherlands, Belgium and the EU have been compared. Following the results of this report, these ranges do not seem to differ substantially and therefore, a priori do not seem to be a convincing scientific argument for divergent legislation on whether or not to prohibit food fortification with specific micronutrients. The results are discussed in light of EU regulation of on the addition of vitamins and minerals and the free movement of goods.

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