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Archived updates for Thursday, January 06, 2005

UK FSA Proposes Excluding Trademarks from EU Nutirtion Regulations

According to a January 5, 2004 announcement by the UK Patent Office, a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on nutrition and health claims made on foods (COM (2003) 424 ) aims to harmonise Community rules on the use of nutrition and health claims on food in order to protect consumers from false and misleading claims and to enable free movement of goods within the Community. It will establish a positive list of permitted nutrition claims and procedures for pre-market authorisation of health claims.

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) recently consulted on the Regulation and have published a summary of responses to the consultation. They conclude:
The degree in which brand owners will be affected will depend on the text of the final Regulation. However, it is clear that as currently drafted there could be implications for brand names, particularly in relation to ranges of "healthy option" products. The UK can influence the proposal through the ongoing negotiations. To this end, the FSR representing the UK has proposed to exclude brand names from the scope of the Regulation provided they are accompanied by a permitted claim. This proposal combined with a transition period (proposed by the Commission) of 18 months would appear to strike a balance between the rights of brand owners and the need for a solution that protects consumers from misleading claims.

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