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Public Health Policy in the EU

Latest news on the public health policy of the European Union.

MEPs call for limit on trans fats in food
The European Parliament voted Wednesday for mandatory limits on industrially-produced trans fats, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, infertility, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and obesity.

Trans fats
MEPs voted on 26 October on a resolution calling for limits on trans fats. These industrial artificially produced fats can be found in anything from fast food to bakery products, chips and margarine, however they can also prove bad for your health. Scientific research has linked heavy consumption of them with obesity, diabetes, infertility, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular diseases.

EU Coding Platform to improve traceability of donated tissue and cells
The web-based EU Coding Platform, launched Thursday, will support healthcare professionals and national competent authorities in tracing donated tissues and cells from donor to recipient in the entire EU.

EU Coding Platform - Reference Compendia for the Application of a single European Coding System for Tissues and Cells
The web-based EU Coding Platform supports healthcare professionals and national competent authorities in tracing donated tissues and cells from donor to recipient in the entire EU.

EU Court rules on Spanish use of rolling fixed-term contracts
The use of successive fixed-term contracts to cover permanent needs in the health care sector are contrary to EU law, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

EU proposes ban on new psychoactive substance
The European Commission proposed Wednesday to subject the new psychoactive substance MDMB-CHMICA, sometimes referred to as 'Black Mamba', to control measures across the European Union.

MEPs veto alertness claims for energy drinks
Euro-MPs voted on Thursday to veto European Commission plans to allow claims that sugary drinks and energy drinks containing caffeine boost 'alertness' or 'concentration'.

Health claims
A health claim is any statement about a relationship between food and health. The European Commission authorises different health claims provided they are based on scientific evidence and can be easily understood by consumers. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is responsible for evaluating the scientific evidence supporting health claims.

Antimicrobial Resistance
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics. AMR not only has a direct impact on human and animal health - due to the failure in the treatment of infectious diseases - but also carries a heavy economic cost. AMR is a natural phenomenon but an accumulation of factors, including excessive and inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines on humans and animals and poor infection control practices, transformed AMR into a serious threat to public health worldwide.

Finally, EU sets out scientific criteria for endocrine disruptors
The European Commission presented Wednesday - two years after they were due - its science-based criteria to identify endocrine disruptors in the field of plant protection products and biocides.

Glyphosate factsheet
The Commission has called for a 'limited extension' of the current authorisation of glyphosate, an active substance used for the production of pesticides, until the European Chemical Agency gives its scientific assessment on the substance.

EU strikes deal for safer medical devices
Safer medical devices and fast patient access to innovative devices are the aim of a provisional deal on new rules for medical devices and in vitro diagnostic products reached by the EU Council and Parliament Wednesday.

New EU rules on tobacco target young smokers
New rules for tobacco products sold in the EU came into force Friday, aiming to reduce the number of smokers, especially among young people, ensuring all are fully aware of the harmful effects of tobacco use.

Smoking in the EU - revised tobacco directive in force
From 20 May new European legislation is in place to make smoking and cigarettes less attractive, especially among young people.

EU again delays decision on glyphosate renewal
The European Commission again postponed a vote on whether to renew the licence for the controversial herbicide glyphosate on Thursday, despite a WHO warning about a link to cancer.

Heart attacks or strokes kill 1 in 5 in EU
Heart attacks (around 644,000 deaths) and strokes (almost 433,000) - slightly more than 1 in 5 - were the cause of death for almost 1.1 million people in the European Union in 2013, according to Eurostat figures.

Process contaminants in vegetable oils and foods: EFSA report
Glycerol-based process contaminants found in palm oil, but also in other vegetable oils, margarines and some processed foods, raise potential health concerns for average consumers of these foods in all young age groups, and for high consumers in all age groups.

MEPs back restrictions on glyphosate herbicide
Members of the European Parliament called Wednesday for a ban on all uses of glyphosate-based herbicides in private and public green areas, including spraying in and around public parks, playgrounds and gardens.

Transmissible animal diseases - rules update
The European Parliament gave its endorsement on 8 March to measures to prevent and halt outbreaks of animal diseases such as avian flu or foot and mouth disease, informally agreed by MEPs and the EU Council of Ministers in June 2015. The draft EU law, on diseases that are transmissible among animals, and potentially to humans too, puts fresh emphasis on prevention and should help professionals to keep pace with scientific progress.

European Medical Corps
The European Union has set up a European Medical Corps (EMC) through which teams and equipment from the EU Member States can be rapidly deployed.

Outbreak of Zika Virus Disease
Latest developments in the EU regarding the outbreak of Zika Virus Disease, and how it is being managed in Europe. Information for travellers and EU residents in affected areas.

Transmissible animal diseases: informal deal
Measures to prevent and treat animal diseases such as avian flu or African swine fever were informally agreed by MEPs, the EU's Latvian Presidency and the European Commission on1 June. The draft EU law, on diseases that are transmissible among animals and potentially to humans too, will merge and update many scattered items of old legislation, so as to help prevent and halt new outbreaks and keep pace with scientific progress.

GMOs in the EU - review of decision-making process
The European Commission presented on 22 April the outcome of its review of the decision-making process for the authorisation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) as food and feed.

EU response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa
West Africa is facing the largest and most complex Ebola epidemic on record. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the most affected countries. Over 22 900 people have been infected, more than 9 200 of whom have died. The European Union has been active in the response to the Ebola emergency from the start. It has mobilised all available political, financial and scientific resources to help contain, control, treat and ultimately defeat Ebola. In October 2014 the European Council appointed Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, as EU Ebola Coordinator.

Life expectancy in the EU still on the rise: OECD - EU report "Health at a Glance: Europe 2014"
The European Commission and the OECD on 3 December unveiled a report entitled Health at a Glance: Europe 2014 on the comparative data on health and health systems covering all 28 EU Member States.