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ISO certification for Borgwaldt Flavor

| July 20, 2015

Borgwaldt Flavor has received the DIN EN ISO 22000:2005 certificate for the production of flavors and ingredients for the food and luxury food industry from the SGS United Kingdom Ltd. Systems & Services Certification.

Andreas Briel, managing director of Borgwaldt Flavor, describes ISO 22000 as a pyramid. “The base of the pyramid is made up of good manufacturing practices,” he says. “These are prerequisites for the safe production of flavors for tobacco products and foodstuffs. To manage quality, Borgwaldt implemented ISO 9001 at the beginning of the 1990s.

“The middle layer is the HACCP program, which enables Borgwaldt to control food safety hazards. The top of the pyramid is ISO 22000:2005 which includes management system elements, demonstrating that Borgwaldt has incorporated food safety in its management.”

While certification is a means to ensure the quality and excellence of products and services, it is also an ongoing management process for critical self-assessment, according to Borgwaldt.

Plans for JTI plant in Taiwan meeting opposition

| July 20, 2015

Japan Tobacco International is aiming to invest more than US$300 million to establish a production plant at Tainan, Taiwan, but the project is meeting with opposition, according to a Want China Times story.

The Times said the plant, at Tainan’s Technological Industrial Park, was due to become operational by February next year.

But the John Tung Foundation has other ideas. It called a news conference on Thursday to say that the project violated the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that Taiwan had signed. The foundation is urging rejection of the project.

After the foundation’s statement, the Tainan city government asked the central government to shed light on the issue.

The foundation said that even if JTI invested US$300 million, the investment would be returned in just a few years and, in the end, it would be the Taiwanese people who would suffer.

But JTI already has a huge presence on the Taiwanese market and, in practice, the establishment of the plant would be about switching from importing to local manufacture.

The project was first screened by the Investment Commission in June, while the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Tainan city government reviewed certain aspects of it.

The plant would be expected to create between 300 and 400 jobs and local people were quoted as saying that JTI had so far followed the law in setting up the plant.

They pointed out that if it were decided to turn the plant down, that decision would affect the willingness of other foreign enterprises to invest in Taiwan.

JTI has been in Taiwan for 15 years and has been active in various public interest activities, such as the preservation of mangrove swamps.

EU scrutinizing Hungary’s tobacco turnover tax

| July 20, 2015

The European Commission has opened two separate ‘in-depth’ investigations to examine further whether two recent Hungarian tax measures with steeply progressive rate structures are in line with EU state aid rules. One measure concerns a tax on turnover from the production of and trade in tobacco products, while the other concerns a food chain inspection fee.

At this stage, the Commission has concerns in both cases that the progressivity of the rates based on turnover provides companies with a low turnover a selective advantage over their competitors, in breach of EU state aid rules,’ the Commission said in a press note.

‘The Commission has also issued injunctions, prohibiting Hungary from applying the progressive rates of the food chain inspection fee and the tobacco tax until the Commission has concluded its assessment.

‘The opening of in-depth investigations gives interested third parties the opportunity to comment on the measures under assessment. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigations.’

This year, Hungary introduced a new tax on tobacco products, referred to as a ‘health contribution’, under which tax rates are steeply progressive; so companies with a low turnover are liable to pay a tax of 0.2 percent of their turnover from the production and sale of tobacco products, while companies with a higher turnover are subject to a rate of up to 4.5 percent of their turnover.

‘The Commission looked into the issue because it received a complaint,’ the press note said.

‘The Commission welcomes member state measures to reduce tobacco consumption. However, it has doubts that the effects of tobacco products on public health increase progressively with the turnover of companies selling them.

‘Because of the progressive rates, companies with a low turnover pay substantially lower taxes than companies with a high turnover. So far, Hungary has provided no objective reasons that would justify a differentiated treatment between companies with different turnovers.

‘The legislation also allows companies to reduce their liability under this tax if they make certain investments in tangible assets. The Commission is concerned that this may grant a selective advantage to such companies, and Hungary has not at this stage demonstrated that the reductions are compatible with the single market.’

Under EU law, member states are competent to decide on their taxation systems. However, member states have to ensure their tax systems respect EU rules on state aid (by not granting selective advantages to particular companies) and on the single market (e.g. by ensuring the freedom of establishment, free movement of goods, services and capital, and non-discrimination between domestic products and those from other member states).

Warnings issued on dangers of ‘very light smoking’

| July 20, 2015

While the overall smoking rate is falling in the US, one group is bucking the trend – young women who opt for ‘very light smoking’, according to a HealthDay News story citing the results of a new study.

The study, published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, defined a very light habit as smoking five or fewer cigarettes a day.

A team led by Carole Holahan of the University of Texas looked at data from nearly 9,800 women aged between 18 and 25 who took part in a federal government survey during 2011.

Very light and intermittent smoking – using cigarettes on some days but not on others – was common among the women. Nearly 20 percent of all the women in the study, and about 60 percent of the current smokers, were described as very light smokers, and nearly half of the current smokers did not smoke every day.

Meanwhile, HealthDay quoted one expert as saying that young women should not fool themselves into thinking light smoking was harmless. “Even light smoking can triple the lifetime risk of heart disease,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Another expert said that very light smokers might not think of themselves as smokers and might believe that they can quit easily. But very light and non-daily smokers often increased their smoking over time and became daily, heavier smokers, said Patricia Folan, who directs the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, New York.

Andhra auction season being extended

| July 20, 2015

The Tobacco Board of India is extending to the end of September the flue-cured tobacco auctions currently being staged in Andhra Pradesh because of the slow rate of sales, according to a Business Standard story relayed by the TMA.

Only 58 million kg have been sold so far this year, compared to 105 million kg by the same stage of last year’s sales.

Flue-cured auctions typically take place from January to July in Andhra Pradesh and from September to February in Karnataka.

A board official said global demand was not expected to improve going into the next crop season.

Zimbabwe’s growers take eight percent price hit

| July 20, 2015

Zimbabwe’s 2015 flue-cured tobacco marketing season ended on Wednesday with growers taking a nearly eight percent hit on prices, according to a New Zimbabwe story.

Grower prices were down from US$3.20 last season to US$2.95 this season.

At the same time, volume sales were said to be down by 8.5 percent to 188.5 million kg because unfavorable weather had reduced production.

And Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chief executive Andrew Matibiri said tobacco earnings had fallen from US$654 million in 2014 to US$555 million this year.

He said this year’s marketing season, which opened some weeks late in March, was a difficult one due to several challenges including the rejection of poor quality leaf by the major buyers.

Matibiri urged growers to continue striving to produce quality leaf to remain viable. “Farmers must listen carefully to what the market wants,” he said. “They must grow that which is demanded by the market.”

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