Charity food endorsements under debate in UK

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, Uk

A senior politician is pressing for clarification on how the UK's
food authority will police new restrictions on charity endorsements
of health foods.

The EU's new draft regulation on nutrition and health claims, set to come up for further debate in the European Parliament early next year, had initially proposed to ban all endorsements of food products. It has now been decided that they can be approved by national authorities.

However Labour backbencher Austin Mitchell has asked for clarification of the basis upon which the UK's Food Standards Agency would make such judgments.

Food industry lobbyist Chris Whitehouse believes that the agency shares this concern.

"Our hope is that the agency will not seek to categorise which organisations are acceptable and which are not, but instead will consult on guidelines to help charities establish best practice when considering whether to endorse products and will then approve all organisations which adhere to such guidelines,"​ said Whitehouse.

The issue will concern an increasing number of food companies looking for third-party backing of their products. Consumer research has shown that most people do not believe the claims being made for health benefits on food packaging.

Some firms are therefore using charity approvals of their science to boost marketing messages. Welch's purple grape juice and a new heart health drink made by Provexis have both recently been approved by Heart UK.

The parliamentary debate is set to continue in the New Year.

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