Remaining in the EU is the better choice -  'Artisan' doesn't mean 'artisan' - The big fat lie - Where there's swill there's a way to reduce food waste ... and a full news roundup

Newsletter No. 31   Summer 2016

Remaining in the EU is the better choice for artisan and small scale food producers

It may come as a surprise to those who have read all the criticism of EU regulations to be found elsewhere on this blog, but remaining a part of the EU is by far the better choice for small scale food producers. The UK must remain an integral and key player in the future of Europe following the vote this Thursday.
The debate around what the UK contributes to the EU is well-rehearsed, suffice to say here that it amounts to just 11.8p a day to the average taxpayer or 0.37% of GDP in 2015. Contrast this with all the benefits derived from membership and it soon starts to look good value for money. Furthermore, the potential for change were the UK to leave the EU is almost entirely illusory - there would be no bonfire of regulations.
A vote to leave would be hugely damaging to many small scale food producers, many may never recover, the burgeoning independent food scene in the UK would be dealt a serious blow. Much better to work on what we have than throw it all away ... read on here if you want to learn more.

A more detailed overall account of the implications of a Brexit can be found in the report of proceedings of the City Food Symposium 2015: UK, Food and Europe -The Food Implications of Brexit. A more personal, but nonetheless compelling view, is provided by Nicholas Barr, Professor of Public Economics at the LSE, in his Letter to friends: this is why I will vote Remain in the referendum. It is also well worth watching Liverpool Law School’s Professor Michael Dougan, one of the UK’s leading EU law experts, as he criticizes the referendum debate’s “dishonesty on an industrial scale” and considers the claims and counter claims from each side.

ASA concludes that ‘artisan’ doesn’t mean … well, artisan
Bakels' 'Artisan Bread Complete'An advert for a Bakels bread-mix claimed “Artisan Bread Complete delivers the delicious flavour and aroma of sour doughs (sic)”. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) declined to act on a complaint brought by the Real Bread Campaign that claims that ‘artisan bread’ can be made using a corner-cutting packet mix and ‘sour dough’ made with 60 minutes’ fermentation was misleading.
The ASA side-stepped the real issue and simply stated that industrial bakers ‘will be aware of what Artisan means’ and consumers only expect ‘artisan-style’ bread so neither group would be misled. So there you have it, ‘artisan’ does not mean ‘artisan’ as any dictionary would have you believe, a fake look-alike will do. Not an approach the ASA normally takes to such matters and, as such, it is quite indefensible.
Perhaps the Food Safety Authority of Ireland is on the right track in seeking to define widely abused marketing terms, if we can overcome the arbitrary distinctions which arise from rigid definitions it could help prevent such misleading claims. The ASA is clearly not up to the task and seems happy that consumers are misled.

The big fat lie – what you get when the food industry advises on diet
The Real Food LifestyleA timely report from Public Health Collaboration on healthy eating caused quite a stir among those responsible for the recently revamped official Eatwell Guide and Public Health England. The report accused major public health bodies of colluding with the food industry and called for a major overhaul of current dietary guidelines. The focus on a low-fat diet fails to address Britain’s obesity crisis.
One positive outcome is that the government is reviewing its guidelines on the consumption of saturated fats after the claims that fatty foods have been wrongly demonised.
Elsewhere, progress in bringing about a more enlightened approach has been made. The latest dietary advice from Brazil’s Ministry of Health, for example, is to give preference to natural or minimally processed foods and avoid ultra-processed foods – or put more simply: Eat real food! Meanwhile Canadian doctors specialising in women’s health advise eating real unprocessed food. While the signs of a change in outlook in official UK guidance on healthy eating show promise it will take time to bring about a change of heart by Public Health England. Let’s see what the Standing Advisory Committee on Nutrition, the body charged with undertaking the review, comes up with in the autumn.
Where there’s swill there’s a way to reduce food waste
Pigs need swillIn 2001 the UK witnessed one of the biggest outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in its history, millions of animals were slaughtered and horrific images of burning pyres of dead livestock across the British countryside will be etched on the memories of many for decades to come. We take a look back at how events unfolded and why swill-feeding to pigs came to be banned.
Official figures put the cost of the outbreak at over £8 billion. The economic, environmental, social and human cost was, however, much higher and far in excess of what it ought to have been. The scale of the outbreak was due largely due to the fact that it was one of the most poorly managed. The ban on swill-feeding pigs was one among many hasty, ill-considered actions.
We live with the legacy of the ban on swill-feeding today, at a time when the imperative is to eliminate food waste and reduce food miles to combat climate change. The rationale which underpinned the ban was flawed and must now be brought into question, the sooner we can return to safe, regulated swill-feeding, the better for all.
Artisan Food Law

Meanwhile …
Law and policy
Germany brings forward proposals to define 'vegetarian' and 'vegan'.
Governments should tax meat production to stem the rise in global consumption.
The British Hospitality Association publish updated food safety guide following the death of a man with a peanut allergy for which a restaurateur was jailed 6 years for manslaughter.
MEPs call for mandatory country of origin labelling (COOL) while 84% and more of EU citizens consider it necessary to indicate the origin of dairy, meat and processed foods.
In the USA the word 'natural' means nothing at all - it's not that different here in the UK – but now the US Food and Drug Administration is thinking about defining ‘natural’.
Food hygiene inspections have fallen 15% since 2003 with experts warning of risks to public health.
A feast of British foods protected under EU law, but for how long?
There is no 26,911 word EU regulation on the sale of cabbages ~ the story actually originated in the USA in the 1940s.
Artisan foods
Does Franco Pepe make the best pizza in the world?
The decline in sales of industrial loaves is down to people seeking out real bread or giving up bread altogether.
Andrew Whitley ran the Village Bakery in Cumbria for more than 25 years. It was one of UK's first organic, artisan bakeries ...
Dairy fats found in milk, yogurt and cheese may help protect against Type 2 diabetes.
Italy approves changes to legislation that require a minimum expiry date no more than 18 months after production for virgin olive oil.
Sustainable farming
Organic milk is not the same as better milk ~ get to know your dairy farmer!
A new micro-abattoir in Skye could be crowdfunded ~ with so many local ones lost in recent years could this be a blueprint for the future?
Caged and barn eggs could disappear within 10 years if the current trend continues.
The belief that eating meat is bad for the environment often overlooks the complexity of the situation. It’s not so simple as eating meat is bad and going veggie is better.
Wine, beer, spirits and drinks
The German beer purity law introduced in 1516 by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria allows for only hops, barley, water and yeast ~ is it still fit for purpose?
Ale made with blood ~ basically a black pudding stout!
Craft beer could face higher bar bills as small, independent brewers face a potentially serious shortage of hops.
Food waste
France leads the way when it comes to tackling food waste ... while Britain is the poor man of Europe when it comes to "squeezing the social goodness out of surplus food".
Most consumers are confused about expiration dates - including 'use by' and 'best before' - on food labels. 90% of Americans prematurely throw away food because they think it has gone bad.

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