Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd
The company was incorporated on 2 December 1997 under the name Good News Communications Limited. The name was changed to Whitehouse on 4 January 2002. The company is a private limited company, company number 03474580. In Brussels they have an address in the expensive office block, stuffed with lobbyists, next door to the European Parliament in Rue Wiertz.
Christopher Whitehouse is Director of The Westminster Media Forum, The Westminster Diet and Health Forum, The Westminster Education Forum, and the Westminster eForum, all of which are projects of a company called Westminster Forum Projects. All of these organisations are also listed as clients of the Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd
Christopher Whitehouse is also clerk to the All-Party Parliamentary Media Group. He is paid for his services to the group by the BBC, BSkyB, Channel 4 TV, Disney Channel and Time Warner. The cross party group has a membership of over twenty MPs. The office bearers are
- Austin Mitchell | Lord Lipsey | Derek Wyatt | Don Foster | Peter Bottomley | Roger Gale | John Greenway
Health and food
Anna Laukkanen is the Whitehouse consultant that specialises in health policy and regulation, particularly in obesity, food and nutrition issues. The Whitehouse website states she played a "key role in our successful lobbying campaign in Brussels on the Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims Made on Food".
The regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods) was drawn up to "prevent unfounded claims on food packages and to ensure effective functioning of the internal market as regards to nutrition and health claims. ".
The proposal covers two categories of claims: nutrition claims (such as "rich in vitamin C" and "low in fat") and health claims (such as "good for your beauty and your inner harmony") and proposed allowing a category of previously prohibited claims relating to the reduction of disease risk.
The food industry reacted to the proposed regulation by employing PR and lobbying companies to try to kill off or at least amend the regulation.
The controversial areas were Article 4, which laid down the conditions for restricting the use of nutrition and health claims. It called on the Commission to establish nutrient profiles (with reference to fat, sugar and salt/sodium content) for each food category within 18 months from the adoption of the regulation. Another area of contention was article 15, which required certain health claims to go through an authorisation procedure and stipulates that "the proposed wording of the health claim is substantiated by scientific data".
The food industry claimed that the proposed regulation was " an overly-burdensome regulation that will provide very little, if any, benefit to the consumer. This proposal exceeds the powers of the EU to interfere in Member State health policies and would adversely impact on food marketing and advertising, thus removing information from the consumer." Over 269 amendments were laid to the regulation.
Whitehouse also lists the Health Food Manufacturers’ Association HFMA as a client and states that:
- "The members of the HFMA have been threatened by a series of national and European regulatory developments that impose additional burdens upon manufacturers... Our approach has been to position the HFMA both in the UK and in Europe as a powerful voice of the sector and to ensure that it punches above its weight in the corridors of power in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels. Active involvement with Parliamentarians both in Westminster and in the European Parliament was initiated and developed to position the HFMA as the source of authoritative information, comment and advice on the regulation of the sector.... lobbying visits to the European Parliament, meetings as the European Commission, and a willingness to challenge regulatory decisions in the High Court and the European Court of Justice have all been key elements of the strategy....Firm and robust commitments have been achieved both from the UK Government and from the European Commission about the way in which legislation will in future be developed and implemented."
The consultancy also lists Vitabiotics as a client and states that:
- "Vitabiotics have been working with The Whitehouse Consultancy over threatening EU legislation on nutrition and health claims made on foods... The proposed EU regulation on nutrition and health claims, presented by the European Commission in 2003, proposed setting up a system of prior authorisation for all nutrition and health claims across the EU. This burdensome regulation, which would also have prohibited general well-being claims, would have threatened many existing products and caused significant delay to bringing new products to market...Whitehouse...worked with Vitabiotics to ensure that the company was seen by MEPs and by member state officials as trusted partners throughout negotiations. By working with MEPs as they drafted particular amendments we were able to help ensure that such amendments addressed key concerns and defended the company’s interests.As the legislation progressed we also worked closely with supportive UK Parliamentarians, holding a briefing in the House of Lords, planting Parliamentary Questions and encouraging them to make representations to the Secretary of State and EU Commissioners. The legislation was significantly improved. Vitabiotics is now working closely with the UK government and its regulatory agencies in relation to the interpretation and implementation of the legislation, and has significantly boosted its profile during the process."
Cambridge Health and Weight Plan (CHWP) also employed Whitehouse on these regulations. According to the Whitehouse website:
- " The ... Consultancy has also been liaising with MEPs in Brussels to lobby for favourable amendments to the proposed EU Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims which would potentially prohibition any claims making reference to the rate of weight loss claims...The Consultancy successfully ensured that key amendments to the Nutrition and Health Claims legislation were voted through in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament thereby significantly improving the proposed legislation.
- Christopher Whitehouse – Managing Director
- David Hare – Senior Consultant
- Anna Laukkanen – Consultant
- Richard Robinson – Consultant
- Kris Verlé – Consultant
- Katie McDowell – Junior Consultant and Parliamentary Monitoring Coordinator
- Paula Pohja – Parliamentary Monitor/Junior Consultant
- Gary Jones – Parliamentary Monitor/Junior Consultant
- Lucy Craig – Parliamentary Monitor/Junior Consultant
The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd Southbank House, Black Prince Road, London, SE1 7SJ Phone: +44 (0)20 7463 0690 Fax: +44 (0)20 7463 0691 Email: email@example.com
Whitehouse Europe rue Wiertz 50/28, 1050 Brussels, Belgium Phone: +32 (0)2 401 87 98 Fax: +32 (0)2 401 68 68 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd, UK Staff and clients 30.11.03-31.05.04
- The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd, UK Staff and clients Sep 07-Nov 07
- The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd, UK Staff and clients 1 December 2007 to 29 February 2008
- The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd, UK Staff and clients 1 June 2008 to 31 August 2008
- The Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd, UK Staff and clients 1 June 2009 to 31 August 2009
- http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/9cad5b826cc1f54f6e61174774a9322a/compdetails accessed 1 December 2007
- About us accessed 1 December 2007
- http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/memi352.htm House of Commons Publications and Records, Register of All-party Groups accessed 1 December 2007
- http://www.whitehouseconsulting.co.uk/aboutus.aspx#anna accessed 1 December 2007
- http://www.euractiv.com/en/health/nutrition-health-claims-foods/article-133154 accessed 1 December 2007
- http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/am/604/604663/604663en.pdf European Parliament Committee on Environment Public Health and Food Safety Amendments doc accessed 1 December 2007
- Whitehouse Consulting HFMA Case study, Accessed 1 December 2007
- http://www.whitehouseconsulting.co.uk/casestudies/vitabiotics.aspx accessed 1 December 2007
- http://www.whitehouseconsulting.co.uk/casestudies/cambridgehwp.aspx accessed 1 December
- Whitehouse Consultancy About us, accessed 15 November 2007