News Review

Carney on climate

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The Bank of England’s governor caused quite a stir with a speech about climate change this week. Speaking at a Lloyd’s of London insurance event Mark Carney referred to climate change as “the tragedy of the horizon”. “The horizon for monetary policy extends out to two to three years. For financial stability it is a bit longer, but typically only to the outer boundaries of the credit cycle – about a decade. In other words, once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.”

 

Junk food advertising

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New rules for the marketing of food and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar are on the way. The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which write and maintain the UK Advertising Codes, have earmarked “early 2016” for the start of a public consultation. “Through public consultation and against a background of concern about children’s diets, we will ask a broad range of stakeholders whether a change of approach is now needed: an approach that would introduce for the first time in the non-broadcast code, rules dedicated to the targeting of advertising, to children, of food and soft drinks high in fat, salt or sugar,” CAP said in a statement. The current rules already require that food and soft drink ads must not condone poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children. Promotions, celebrities and licensed characters are banned in food and soft drink ads directed at younger children, and ads must not encourage “pester power”.

 

The British Heart Foundation welcomed the news. “The current rules are weak, vague and inconsistent and do not protect children from aggressive marketing of unhealthy products,” said director of policy Mike Hobday, adding that the introduction of a 9pm watershed ban on junk food ads during family shows such as X Factor, which are not classed as children’s programming, would “go a long way to protecting children”.

 

Food fraud

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The head of the Food Standards Agency’s food crime unit is “not convinced yet” that “organised crime has made significant inroads into food”. Speaking at the Food Manufacture Group’s food safety conference, Andy Morling said that could all change in the future, however. “If we don’t give a response to match the threat, it could be something we are facing in a few years’ time.” Morling was recruited as head of the FCU back in March. The unit was set up in response to recommendations made by Professor Chris Elliott in his “review into the integrity and assurance of food supply chains”. October’s Footprint will assess how the food industry has reacted in the 12 months since its publication – and there’s a stark warning from Professor Elliott for those in foodservice.

 

GM update

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Greenpeace has suggested that the EU’s “laissez faire” regulatory regime has resulted in nine countries seeking to ban genetically modified crops. Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Poland have all formally notified the European Commission of their intentions ahead of the October 5th deadline.

 

Public statements made by Denmark, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, as well as Scotland and Northern Ireland, suggest they will follow suit. If they do, bans could be in place across 66% of the EU’s arable land, Greenpeace claimed. New regulations, approved in January, provide member states with greater power to decide whether or not to grow GM crops.

 

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