Some of you may be thinking that with Brexit looming what’s the point of a piece on bakery law? Well, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon, may take a decade or more and even then little may change. So, food law has been around a while, it all started with bread - the Assize of Bread and Ale 1266 to be precise - and here we cover some present day real bread law highlights.
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.
The foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in 2001 witnessed the slaughter of millions of animals and horrific images of burning pyres of dead livestock across the British countryside that will be etched on the memories of many for decades to come. 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 must be brought into question.
The grand political narratives around the COP21 conference in Paris will barely touch on one crucial aspect – food. The Paris talks are of vital importance, not just for climate change itself but for framing what kind of food economy follows. And why does food matter for climate change? Well, it’s a major factor driving it yet barely gets a mention. Tim Lang and Rebecca Wells from London's City University make the case for systemic change.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) publishes four food law codes of practice which are for use by the food authorities in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. These are statutory codes of practice which, in England, is issued under section 40 of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
Food authorities are required have regard to the relevant code in the discharge of their duties or risk successful challenge to their decisions or actions, and evidence being ruled inadmissible by a court. It is, therefore, essential that food businesses are at least aware of their content in their dealings with local enforcement authorities. The codes for England and Wales have recently been updated and came into force on 6 April 2014, replacing earlier versions dated April 2012.
Does your website contain hypertext links to content available elsewhere on the web?
It has, until now, been a grey area whether including a link on a website to copyright protected content on a third party website was a breach of that copyright. This small but crucial aspect of intellectual property law has recently been the subject of judicial clarification.
On 4 March 2013 the European Commission published the results of a study undertaken on the value of Geographical Indication (GI) food products. The results provide some insight into the overall impact of GI products which are considered here from the perspective of the UK.
A GI is the name of a product where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. It is a type of intellectual property right that can apply in the EU to different types of products under one of four schemes.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has shaped agriculture in Europe since 1962. Since then a progressive change in the structure of agricultural undertakings has taken place with large corporate interests now dominating food production and able to take advantage of the CAP which accounts for roughly half of the EU’s budget, some £50 billion of which 70% is spent on direct payments. In the UK around 200,000 farmers receive £3.3 billion but it is the big corporates that benefit most.