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 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.
Call by your local farmers’ market and you will likely be greeted by an array of delicious and tempting produce, beautifully and simply presented. The picture painted of simple, good and wholesome real food belies the reality of an ever-growing body of complicated and expensive regulatory control with which small scale food producers must contend. What appears straightforward and simple on the surface, often seems more like a bureaucratic nightmare.
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).
The Sole of Discretion will create a new supply chain which fairly rewards responsible fishers. Consumers will get fresh, high quality fish despatched or frozen within hours of a catch being landed. Sole of Discretion will put provenance, quality and fairness at the heart of its business model. Yes, this is a crowdfunding project, but if you care about food and have a conscience it is one you must seriously consider!
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.
Do EU hygiene rules unduly constrain artisan food producers in the quality and range of food they are able to make? Artisan Food Law is working with Slow Food International on a study across Europe into this critical issue. The first stage will focus on artisan cheese and dairy production and we will be using the opportunity presented by Slow Cheese in Bra, Italy next month to further our research.
Early last year the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) embarked on a consultation with a view to producing guidance that would help protect the integrity of certain marketing terms used in relation to food – notably ‘artisan’, ‘farmhouse’, ‘traditional’ and ‘natural’.
Attempts to define in any legal sense the meaning of words can be fraught with difficulty, but given there is so much evidence of the abuse of words like ‘artisan’ may be it’s worth a try.