When serving food in a community setting confusion often arises when considering the extent to which domestic and EU food law applies and so must be followed. Do I need to register as a food business operator? Do the food hygiene rules have to be met in full? If not, what are my obligations? The questions go on … and on.
It is rare for a case on food law to reach the Supreme Court. We have followed closely the case of Torfaen County Borough Council v Douglas Willis Limited which raised a point of law of public importance in relation to 'use by' dates on food and judgement was finally handed down last Wednesday, 31 July 2013.
In 2011 Torfaen County Borough Council brought a prosecution against Douglas Willis Limited for a number of offences contrary to regulation 44(1)(d) of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 which makes it an offence where any person “sells any food after the date shown in a ‘use by’ date relating to it”. Torfaen alleged that Willis had sold frozen pigs’ tongues after their ‘use by’ date. The case has become one of public importance and reaches the Supreme Court next week.
Last month three quantitative microbial risk assessments (QMRAs), published in the Journal of Food Protection, and many other scientific papers on the topic of raw milk were the subject of a review presented at the British Colombia Centre for Disease Control in Canada. Quantitative microbial risk assessment is considered the gold standard in terms of food safety evidence and is internationally recognised.
The reviewer, Nadine Ijaz, in a presentation called ‘Unpasteurized milk: myths and evidence’, demonstrated how inappropriate evidence has long been mistakenly used to affirm the myth that raw milk is a high risk food. In the US today, green leafy vegetables are the most frequent cause of foodborne illness.
May be that headline should have read: Westminster insists burgers must be indigestibly tough or incinerated prior to consumption?
Over the last few weeks Westminster City Council has come in for a lot of stick for a reported crack down by environmental health officers on sales of medium rare and rare burgers. This followed earlier reports about Westminster’s action in requiring the Brasserie Blanc in Covent Garden to cook calves’ liver at a core temperature of 70oC for two minutes.
The EU appears fond of lists these days. Not long ago we had a long list of permitted health claims. Now the European Commission has adopted legislation providing for a list of over 2,100 flavourings for use in food in the EU, plus another 400 which can be used pending evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).