The Government has decided to leave The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 unchanged after years of deliberation and a consultation. So the fig-leaf of fortification remains, but what we need is more nutrient-dense food.
As a part of the Red Tape Challenge to reduce regulation, Defra reviewed the need for the 1998 Regulations. The public consultation on ‘possible regulatory options’ ended on 13 March 2013.
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. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has made a brave attempt to answer some of these questions in recently published new guidance: Community and Charity Food Provision – Guidance on the Application of EU Food Hygiene Law.
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 the High Court last week judgement was given in an important case affecting the rights of small scale fishermen. On one side stood 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.
Torfaen County Borough Council v Douglas Willis Limited came before The Supreme Court, the highest in the land, 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, all similar in nature, contrary to regulation 44(1)(d) of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996. This is the regulation that 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. Artisan Food Law covered the case in early 2012.
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 review was reported in The Wall Street Journal.
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.