Artisan Food Law is hacked - food labelling day arrives - the FSA and 'risky' foods - Terra Madre Day 2014 - the Christmas Food Fraud Quiz ... and news round up

Newsletter No. 25   Winter 2014



   
The Artisan Food Law web site is temporarily offline 

 
On the evening of 13 December 2014 the main Artisan Food Law web site was hacked and brought down. We were gutted, but we are working hard to restore the site. A re-build almost from scratch with limited resources will take a little time. On the plus side, you all have better things to do over the next couple of weeks than worry about food law!
 
Meanwhile, www.artisanfoodlaw.co.uk is being re-directed to our Facebook page where we will keep you up to date with progress on restoring the site.
 
Please send any questions or queries you may have to info@artisanfoodlaw.co.uk and we will respond just as soon as we can.
 
Thanks for your understanding and patience.
 



 
Food labelling day – protecting health, providing information
Food label
The milestone for many food producers this month is not Christmas, it was 13 December – food labelling day when the food information to consumers (FIC) Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 came into effect. The aim of the FIC, as it appears now to be more affectionately known, is to protect health by providing consumers with a right to information about what’s in the food they consume. No hiding the GMOs in Europe!
 
The long awaited new labelling regime, however, seems to be the source of widespread confusion and consternation among food producers and retailers, not to mention restaurants coping with allergen labelling, or at least it is if you believe the trade press. The presence of allergens in food has dominated media coverage, an important change but let’s not overlook the rest of what it covers.
 
So much has been written and said about FIC we thought it a good idea to take stock and do a round up of some of the best, most useful sources of information in one place – click here for more.
 
 



The FSA and so-called ‘risky’ foods
Raw minced veal
The FSA’s apparent change of heart on raw drinking milk over the summer felt like a breath of fresh air, but was short-lived and a return to historical paranoia is the order of the day.
 
On 5 November 2014 the Board of the FSA discussed ‘Our Approach to ‘Risky’ Foods’, a report prepared by Steve Wearne, the FSA’s Director of Policy. In the report ‘risky’ foods are “those foods that pose, or are perceived to pose, risks that are greater than those posed by the majority of foods that are not subject to specific controls.” Artisan Food Law covered these proposals in the run-up to the meeting.
 
Where the authority for defining a group of foods in such subjective terms comes from is unclear, but it seems the FSA is again set on demonising some traditional foods which it perceives pose a greater level of risk – with raw drinking milk in the front line and the rare burger set to become even rarer!
 
When it came to the meeting itself, it fell to Board member Dr James Wildgoose to be the sole voice of logic and reason: “The bottom line is that food is risky more generally, and so identifying something as ‘risky food’ isn’t quite right, it seems to me.” This is surely the point. All food carries risk, if it is acceptable for it to be placed on the market, it simply becomes a case of managing risk in the most effective way possible.

It is not risky food we should be concerned about but risky practice in food production whenever and wherever it arises. The high levels of Campylobacter contamination in supermarket chicken dominating recent news headlines illustrate the point only too well.
 
A global celebration of local food: Terra Madre Day 2014
Terra Madre
Slow Food celebrated its first quarter century this year and Terra Madre Day, on 10 December, was witness to more than 800 events around the world which engaged over 150,000 people – including one astronaut!

The Slow Food network in Africa has a new goal of 10,000 gardens, the first 1,000 having been achieved, to promote local food consumption and education for future generations. Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food, launched the new target at Borough Market in London earlier this month.
 
Check out some of the highlights of Terra Madre Day 2014 from around the globe for inspiration and connection.
 
The Christmas Food Fraud Quiz – do you know your onions?
Honey
What was that latest food scandal? The top 10 food frauds? How do you test for pure honey? How well do you know your Red Snapper? So you think there’s lamb in that kebab? Wild salmon (of course, not that you would buy it!) costs how much more?
 
See how you do – take the FutureLearn quiz here!

 
 
Season’s Greetings to all our readers and followers.
 
We’ll be back in the New Year! 

 

Artisan Food Law
"I can highly recommend Artisan Food Law, it’s a hugely useful and expert information resource on the law affecting artisan and small scale food producers."
 
Joanna Blythman
Award winning author and investigative journalist


Meanwhile …
 
Law and policy
Scotland passes legislation to set up new food standards body with powers to tackle diet and regulate food safety.
 
The food hygiene rating scheme law in Wales now covers producers. Risk of £200 fixed penalty or prosecution for non-display of rating.
 
Fighting food fraud with forensics. Oritain's 'food fingerprinting' helps protect wine, honey and tree fruits.
 
Sainsbury's loses fight against Tesco Price Promise. A judicial review brought by Sainsbury's over the ASA's decision on Tesco's price comparisons has been rejected by the High Court. The ruling means that the ASA does not have to take into account the provenance or quality of food, or whether it is a Fairtrade product or has been sustainably sourced. Talk about comparing apples with pears!
 
Supermarkets are on the way out. "The fall of empire, when it does come, tends to be fast, the seeds of decline obvious in retrospect. It looks as though this one will follow the pattern. We already have a whiff of rottenness at the core." Felicity Lawrence writing in The Guardian.
 
Artisan foods
World’s largest truffle was rumoured to fetch $1m. The 4.16 pound Alba white truffle actually fetched $50,000.

2014 will go down as one of the worst years in recent history for olive oil production in Italy. Latest predictions show double-digit drops in production in all regions, except in Piedmont and Sardinia.
 
We’re eating chocolate faster than we can grow it. Last year the world ate 70,000 tonnes more than it produced ... but rumours may be overstated - small deficit predicted.
 
New research on the effect of the breadmaking process on gut microbia and IBS. "In conclusion, breads fermented by the traditional long fermentation and sourdough are less likely to lead to IBS symptoms compared to bread made using the Chorleywood Breadmaking Process."
 
The Wasabi Company grow and distribute fiery Japanese wasabi in Britain. Soon exporting to Tokyo! Only true wasabi cuts the mustard ~ says Bee Wilson.
 
Dairy launches a Darling new raw milk cheese. Darling Blue is Doddington Dairy's first blue cheese.
 
From red pudding to laver bread: 10 strange British regional foods you should try. There are many more!
 
Controversy over raw milk cheese coming to a head. US is "a society of people who don't really want choice."
 
Wine, beer, spirits and drinks
Who would have thought £5,000 for a bottle of English wine? OK - it is quite a big bottle of Chapel Down wine!
 
Wine fraud is rampant in the UK. As much as 20% of the 1 billion litres consumed each year may be fake or illegally imported.
 
Italian winemakers to carry out a nation-wide act of civil disobedience, by publishing the place of origin of their wines on their websites. Carlo Petrini on the bureaucratic absurdity of the EU protected food name scheme which makes Piemonte vineyards invisible.
 
Sustainable fish
Insight from Richard Corbett MEP into the EU PECH Fisheries Committee proceedings affecting discards and the Fish Fight ... the battle's not over yet!
 

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