A 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.
Nutrition and Health
The Scottish Government is calling for UK flour to be fortified with synthetic folic acid in order to reduce birth defects, especially neural tube conditions such as spina bifida. The UK government is still considering its position after positive recommendations from its advisors, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). No-one can argue against the desirability of improving the diet and health of women before and during pregnancy, nor dismiss the Scottish government’s concern that low folate status affects deprived communities most severely. Putting synthetic folic acid in flour is an attractively simple solution, but it would be a big mistake. Andrew Whitley of Bread Matters explains why the fortification of flour with folic acid would be a big mistake.
The publication of the domestic regulations and guidance on the implementation of the food information to consumers Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 (the FIC Regulation) was expected much earlier this year. The general labelling requirements under the FIC Regulation will take effect on 13 December this year and food businesses are understandably anxious in the absence of certainty and clarity surrounding key aspects of the implementation of these provisions. Earlier this month, no doubt in recognition of the level of anxiety shown, Defra circulated a draft version of the guidance. The draft has not, however, been published or made available on the Defra web site and it adds some 16 pages to the guidance published in November 2012.
Sourdough is a spontaneous fermentation of flour and water in which naturally-occurring yeasts and beneficial lactic acid bacteria work in symbiosis to aerate and flavour bread, make nutrients more bio-available and improve digestibility. After a gap of at least two centuries, sourdough bread is making a comeback in Britain. But bread is notorious for not always being quite what it seems. In an echo of 19th century adulteration, some outlets are now putting the sourdough label on loaves that are far from the real thing.
Andrew Whitley, co-founder of the Real Bread Campaign, author of Bread Matters and DO Sourdough – Slow Bread for Busy Lives, argues that ‘Real Sourdough’ needs legal definition via an Honest Crust Act to protect the public from ‘pseudough’.
The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) public consultation on the future availability of raw drinking milk comes to a close in a few days on 30 April. Artisan Food Law has covered many different issues surrounding raw milk over the last 12 months and more, so now seems a good time to bring some key ones together and provide, in no particular order, 10 good reasons for securing the future of raw milk.
A few days of the FSA’s public consultation remain. If you are one of the 77% of people who support the continued sale and availability of raw drinking milk, even if you would personally not choose to drink it, you have a brief opportunity left to let the FSA know. Simply send a note to Freddie Lachhman at the FSA, either by e-mail to RDM@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk or write to him at: Food Hygiene Policy, Food Standards Agency, 1st Floor, Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London WC2B 6BH.
Make sure the message gets through by 30 April that raw drinking milk is here to stay and the choice whether to consume it must be one which is real and meaningful.
On 31 March the Food Standards Agency (FSA) hosted an open meeting for anyone interested in the future of raw drinking milk. The FSA has been reviewing the regulations on raw milk for the last two years and this meeting was a part of the public consultation which runs until 30 April.
There have been no reported outbreaks of illness associated with raw drinking milk in the UK since 2002 while throughout this period well in excess of 10 million litres of raw drinking milk has been consumed. The absence of any reported outbreak is no accident or coincidence but a credit to the high standards of production applied by today’s raw milk producers. This formed the background to the discussion.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced the public consultation stage following a policy review of sales of raw drinking milk. The consultation pack which accompanied the announcement last Thursday, 30 January, extends to 191 pages of detailed information and sets out four options for the future. The good news is that the FSA has expressed a preference for continuing raw milk sales under the fourth of the following four options:
Option 1: Do nothing
Option 2: All milk to be pasteurised prior to sale
Option 3: Allow sales of raw drinking milk from all outlets
Option 4: Introduce measures to harmonise and clarify current controls.
In short, in a choice between the status quo, either extreme and somewhere in the middle, a whisker away from the status quo it is the last of these which is preferred by the FSA at this stage.
In January 2013 the European Commission launched a public consultation on the future of organic agriculture. Artisan Food Law raised the hope that questions around the presence of GMOs in organic food “… do not become a precursor to proposals that would permit higher levels of contamination or, worse still, the deliberate inclusion of GM ingredients in organic products.” The report on the results of the consultation was published on 19 September and sets out clearly that the people of Europe are against GMOs.