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A week in news: the latest food and drink headlines from 12-16 September

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4 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
red lips with a stream of junk food between them and a drop of grease descending

This week has been largely centred on the passing and upcoming funeral of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. There have also been several food news stories which promise to have a large impact on the industry, both at home and abroad. Here is a roundup of the biggest food news:

Liz Truss considers scrapping delayed HFSS legislation altogether

According to a report from The Guardian, newly elected Prime Minister Liz Truss is set to completely get rid of the UK’s anti-obesity strategy. She has ordered ministers to conduct an official review into the HFSS legislation which had been planned to come into effect next month, but was delayed following the onset of the cost of living crisis earlier this year.

Truss promised as much during her campaign to become Tory leader and PM. Health experts and groups have been critical of the move, however. Katharine Jenner, Director of the Obesity Health Alliance, told The Guardian: “We are deeply concerned. It would be reckless to waste government and business time and money rowing back on these obesity policies, which are evidence-based and already in law. These policies are popular with the public, who want it to be easier to make healthier choices.”

EU Parliament votes in favour of rainforest – and land – protecting laws

Companies selling goods to and within the EU may soon not be allowed to source products from deforested or degraded land, as the result of a new proposal Parliament has voted for. If the rules become official legislation, the onus will be on companies to exercise ‘due diligence’ in verifying the origins of goods.

The hope is that this would give consumers a guarantee that products they buy do not contribute to deforestation or land degradation. Find out what the next steps are for the proposal to become law.

Sainsbury’s raises staff pay as part of multi-million pound cost of living support package

The UK’s second largest grocer has said it will raise its staff’s wages for the second time this year to help them weather the cost of living crisis. This will be the first time ever that Sainsbury’s has conducted a pay rise outside of its annual pay review.

Sainsbury’s 127,000 staff will get an extra 25p per hour from 16 October, a move which is estimated to cost the retailer around £20M. In total, Sainsbury’s staff have received a 7.9% pay increase this year – however this is still well behind the rate of inflation. Additionally, the supermarket has also pledged to give staff access to basic food items while on shift, in a move similar to that recently adopted by John Lewis and Waitrose.

Joe Biden signs executive order boosting support for foodtech

Innovative food technologies like cellular agriculture and microbial fermentation were dealt a considerable boost this week, following the news that US President Joe Biden had signed an executive order aiming to bolster biotechnologies. Biden’s order recognised that such technologies can improve food security and sustainability within the country.

The Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Energy, Agriculture and Commerce, as well as the Director of the National Science Foundation, have 180 days to submit reports into how such technologies can be used in their respective fields. Explore how the US wants to use foodtech to support food security.

Grocery inflation hits 12.4%

Grocery inflation soared once again this week, increasing to 12.4% according to market research agency Kantar. This is considerably higher than the overall rate of inflation, which the ONS said had actually decreased in August, because of marginally cheaper fuel prices.

The typical annual grocery bill has risen from £4,610 to £5,181 in early September, with milk and butter among the biggest contributors. The rising cost of food is forcing many to switch out their preferred retailer for budget alternatives. As a result, it was also reported this week that Aldi had overtaken Morrisons as the UK’s fourth largest supermarket.

Study finds synthetic chemicals rife in British food

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have completed the first comprehensive assessment of the presence of organophosphate esters (OPEs) in food – chemicals used to prevent or slow the growth of fire in different materials.

Nearly 400 food samples were tested – from both animal-derived and plant sources – and all were revealed to contain OPEs. While the levels were considered safe for humans, it is widely accepted by scientists that long-term exposure to such chemicals can be dangerous. Learn which foods were the worst offenders.


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