GERMANY: Lidl and Aldi could be sued for infringing patents, according to a leading licensing company. MPEG LA said several patent holders had registered separate enforcement actions against Aldi Nord, Aldi Süd, Lidl Stiftung and Lidl Dienstleistung.

The retailers have been accused of infringing patents essential to the MPEG-2 digital video compression standard, which is used worldwide in digital television broadcasting and DVD players. The suits are seeking monetary damages and injunctions prohibiting Aldi and Lidl from using the patents in their products and from offering, marketing, or importing them.

US: Walmart and North Carolina-based company Homs have been accused of violating organic standards set out by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Cornucopia Institute has filed legal complaints with USDA, alleging the duo use conventional agricultural oils and other ingredients in pest control products labelled with the green USDA organic seal.

This gave them an unfair edge, claimed senior farm policy analyst Mark Kastel. "The seal is meaning-ful to consumers and should not be used frivolously. This places ethical industry participants at a competitive disadvantage."

AUSTRALIA: The first Australian Obesity Summit took place in Sydney this week, with delegates unable to agree on whether policy should come from government or be self-regulated. General manager of Mars Snackfood Peter West suggested putting RDI information on all packaging and modifying Mars' marketing code to eliminate child-targeted activity.

Claire Hewat, CEO of the Dietitians Association of Australia, called for extra funding for obesity prevention schemes.

DENMARK: The government has imposed a temporary ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in all food contact materials for children aged 0-3 after food safety experts warned the substance could hinder learning capacity. From 1 July it will be illegal to sell feeding bottles, cups and babyfood packaging containing BPA.

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Fisheries announced the ban as a "precautionary principle".