Artisan Food Law Blog
On one side stands the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA) representing small inshore fleet fishermen, on the other the United Kingdom Association of Fish Producer Organisations (AFPO), a trade association which almost exclusively represents large fish producers. David and Goliath. The main protagonists, however, were AFPO and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) who is responsible, under Article 20(3) of Regulation (EC) 2371/2002, for allocating the UK’s fishing quota within the terms of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Torfaen County Borough Council v Douglas Willis Limited came before The Supreme Court last Tuesday, 9 July 2013, by way of an appeal from the Divisional Court. The issues for the Court to consider were the construction of regulation 44(1)(d) of The Food Labelling Regulations 1996. In particular, whether the offence of selling food with an expired ‘use by’ date requires proof that the food was at the time of the offence highly perishable and likely to constitute an immediate danger to human health; and whether a ‘use by’ date ceases to have effect once the food has been frozen.
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.
There remain only a few short days to support the distribution of a great food documentary and be a part of movie history.
Those of you following the story of Steve Hook, the pioneering raw milk dairy farmer, here on Artisan Food Law will probably have spotted there are two parallel stories taking place. The first came to an end when the Foods Standards Agency dropped its prosecution against Steve Hook and Selfridges for selling raw milk from a vending machine located in the food hall of the prestigious Oxford Street store in London. The second was a far more interesting and glamorous affair.
There remain only a few days in which you can show your support for the return of traditional raw milk Stilton cheese. 'Stilton' is an EU protected food name and Defra is currently considering two applications to amend the product specification pursuant to Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
If the latest moves to regulate the consumption of olive oil in restaurants from the European Commission were designed as a gift for the Brexit lobby they could not have come at a better time. As Harvey Morris writing in the New York Times put it: “Even the most fervent supporters of the European Union would acknowledge that its bureaucrats occasionally display an unrivaled (sic) talent for shooting themselves in the foot.”
In January 2013 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced that it was to prosecute Steve Hook, the pioneering Dairy Farmer of the Year 2012 finalist, of Hook and Son and Selfridges for selling raw milk by means of a vending machine. The news came as no great surprise since Hook and Son’s regular newsletter on 15 January had foreshadowed the FSA’s announcement. In May, just four months later, the prosecution is dropped. Did the FSA come to regret their decision to prosecute?