What are UK sugar laws?
UK sugar laws are always evolving or changes from time to time; however, there are some rules that seem to be unchangeable. Presently, there is a draft Sugar law before the parliament of the UK that is aimed at reducing further, the amount of sugar in certain foods. This new legislation will probably go against the European Union Food Legislation, and when it is finally debated in November 2016, the law may breach the Health and Nutrition claims of the European Union. The latest Sugar bill, titled “Sugar in Foods and Drinks” Act 2015, claims that among several measures, will prevent organizations from producing foods that claim to be healthy or low fat, from adding sugar at levels higher than 20%.
The new sugar law also stipulates that any language used on the label package that may suggest sugar contents higher than 20% will be utterly banned from the UK market. According to stakeholders in the food and drink industries, the new laws will be a de facto measure that will contravene directly, the EU provisions and Health Claims Regulation (HCR). The article 4 of the HCR particular explains nutrient profiling – the amount of sugar, salt and fat a food must contained in order to be tagged “healthy”, however, these nutrient profiling rules have not been implemented in many EU laws. Seems there are numerous references to non-specific foods and the overall health will only be acceptable if there are authorized health claims that will accompany the “health” status of such foods.
According to stakeholders in the food industry in the UK, subjecting all foods and drinks to less than 20% sugar , will definitely mean , all health claims on such foods and drinks are banned, and that may mean an outright restriction of free trade under the laws of the EU. If the bills eventually pass through, it will also recommend that sugar contents of teaspoon units of food must be stated. Some stakeholders have drawn the attention of UK legislators to the Recital 49 of “ Food Information to consumers Regulation”, that stipulates that the harmony between National laws and EU rules should not prohibit or restrict the free movement of goods and services, therefore the new law will not confirm to such regulations.
Aside the new 20% sugar law, the UK is also targeting the reduction of total calories in certain sugary beverages to 25% by the year 2025, which means all soft drinks will have to use alternative natural sweeteners that will reduce drastically the amount of calories in such drinks. Presently, the total calories in most sugary beverages are higher than 100. The current and new sugar laws will aim at reducing the obesity and cancer rates in the UK, a country that has the highest number of obese people in Europe and one of the highest in the world. Some analysts believe that the latest sugar rule may be a signal that the United Kingdom is really serious about its threat to opt out of the EU.