'Artisan' and 'natural' defined - Food labelling developments - Supermarket chicken - Fishing quota challenge - Endangered foods - Eating with your ears ... and a full news round up

Newsletter No. 27   Summer 2015

‘Artisan’ and ‘natural’ defined

Early last year the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) embarked on a consultation with a view to producing guidance that would help protect the integrity of certain marketing terms used in relation to food – notably ‘artisan’, ‘farmhouse’, ‘traditional’ and ‘natural’.
Attempts to define in any legal sense the meaning of words can be fraught with difficulty, but given there is so much evidence of the abuse of words like ‘artisan’ maybe it’s worth a try? Artisan Food Law pondered this question and was far from convinced.
Contrast this approach with a view from across the Atlantic in which Michael Pollan explains why ‘natural’ doesn’t mean anything anymore.

Photo: © @2magpiesbakery Southwold, Suffolk - more at www.twomagpiesbakery.co.uk/

Food labelling developments

The topic of food labelling seems hardly ever to be out of the news these days. Artisan Food Law published the first instalment on the food information to consumers (FIC) Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 that took effect on 13 December 2014 for those in need of the detail on the new law.
New ideas and proposals surface regularly, including the use of emoticons rather than traffic lights or colours. Would you buy a food that frowns at you due to a high fat content? The problem with such simplistic approaches is they share the same flawed logic and demonise some traditional real foods.
More recently came a proposal backed by the European Parliament for mandatory calorie labelling for alcoholic drink - by the end of 2016 all alcoholic drinks would have calorie content labels.
Finally, early this month the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that labelling may mislead consumers if packaging, taken as a whole, gives the impression that an ingredient is present when it is not. Appearances do, it seems, matter.

Supermarket chicken riskier than raw drinking milk

Comparisons are fraught with difficulty, but all food carries some degree of risk and all risks are relative. Supermarket chicken and raw drinking milk have been in the headlines lately, how do they compare?
The British Poultry Council estimates that in 2013 about 870 million chickens were bred, hatched, reared, and slaughtered in the UK and the equivalent of another 400 million birds were imported, in total some 1,270 million birds. The best estimate for raw milk sales suggests that around 1.2 million litres or just over 2.1 million pints of raw drinking milk are consumed in the UK every year. What is the incidence of food borne infection?
Green light for Greenpeace fishing quota challenge

Greenpeace has cleared the first hurdle in bringing a legal challenge to the Government’s decision to allocate most of the UK fishing quota to industrial and foreign corporations. One factory vessel alone accounts for nearly a quarter of the quota.
The new Common Fisheries Policy gave greater priority to local, low impact fishing because it is more sustainable, has lower CO2 emissions and provides greater employment and job creation opportunities. The Government would appear to have completely overlooked these facts.

The world’s most endangered foods

The Slow Food Ark of Taste is dedicated to protecting and preserving the world’s most endangered foods. BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme has dedicated a new web site to a series of short programmes on these foods. Recorded at the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in October 2014 they start with an introduction to the Ark of Taste itself. The stories behind endangered foods are now all conveniently located together with new programmes added on a regular basis - so keep checking back. Listen, share and enjoy!
Meanwhile, here are 10 endangered British foods you can eat and so preserve.

Eating with your ears

Our perception of flavour is strongly influenced by sounds we hear while eating. The sound of crispy bacon may be more important than taste or smell. Check out the full study ‘Eating with our ears: the importance of sound on enjoyment of flavour’ in Flavour Journal's free open access article.


"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
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 revokes requirement for bakers to keep records of weight checks from 1 October 2015.
The True Neapolitan Pizza Association, which represents pizza makers across Italy, accused McDonald's of a "shameful attack" against Italy's cultural traditions and warned stop making money at the expense of children's health.
EU proposes ban on animal cloning, cloned food, feed and imports. Cloning negatively affects animal welfare, is strongly opposed by EU citizens and not necessary.
Defra publish new guidance on how to apply to have the name of your food or drink product added to the EU protected food name register.
'Blood cashews': the toxic truth about your favourite nut, which can cause vicious burns.
UK tops chart of EU food waste by a wide margin ... while France introduces fines and possible imprisonment for wasting food.
Artisan foods
New Zealand to allow sale of raw milk , subject to farmers registering and meeting hygiene requirements.
Fen Farm Dairy produces raw milk from a herd of French Montbéliarde cows. The dairy’s Baron Bigod is Britain’s only raw milk brie - this is how to add value to milk!
Swiss scientists plug hole in cheese knowledge - formed in cheeses such as Emmental by hay particles in milk and not CO2 released by bacteria ... but opinions still differ!
The rise of artisan bakeries has led to DIY classes and the Real Bread Campaign. Meanwhile, the Campaign hails ASA recognition as a victory for shoppers.
Randolph Hodgson gave cheese a chance and confronted scientific ignorance embedded in Whitehall and in local environmental health offices all over Britain.
Cheese changed the course of Western civilization – but how did it come about?
A perfectly crafted sourdough loaf is one of the world’s finest foods says Dan Lepard ... and who would disagree?
Fresh fermented milk and cream - a simple fermentation experiment is to clabber (curdle and ferment) raw milk – pasteurised milk will turn bad.
One innovation that changed the face of pig farming. The slatted floor marked the transition toward the ever-increasing confinement of pigs, which historically had free range of the woods.
Organic production stands at 43.1 million hectares of agricultural land worldwide, with 10.2 million (24%) in the EU. Why do Europeans buy organic?
Wine, beer, spirits and drinks
Do wines that cost more, taste better?
The patriotic pint: 10 best beers made with British hops. A few favourite beers in this list!
Support small-scale cider makers and consumer choice - reject EU demands for a new tax up to £2,700.

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