In the UK, food products bearing a 'protected food name' are on average sold at a significant premium to the price of otherwise comparable food. Protecting the authenticity and value of traditional foods is crucial if we are to sell the UK as a source of delicious and high-quality food, rooted in good food stories, traditional skills and history. Yet descriptions that protect both value and values are at risk from changes to our food rules consequent on the EU Withdrawal (Repeal) Bill and new international trade deals.
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.
New rules governing the use of the description ‘mountain product’ as an optional quality term for food products coming from mountain areas came into force last month. This is the first optional quality term to be introduced under Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 which aims to highlight products with an added value, but which are not covered under other EU quality labels. The hope is that it will give a boost to farmers in mountain areas.
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.
Sorry Chobani, I always understood ‘Greek yoghurt’ came from Greece, that’s why we have ‘Greek style yoghurt’. Chobani’s views about what people think are, like its yoghurt, a US import.
FAGE began producing yoghurt in the late 1920s and since the mid-1980s has imported TOTAL yoghurt, the brand name used in the UK, from Greece. FAGE accounts for 95% of all Greek yoghurt sold in the UK. The remaining 5% being mainly Tesco and Asda own-label Greek yoghurt also imported from Greece. The widely available ‘Greek style yoghurts’ retail at a substantially cheaper price. FAGE sued newcomer Chobani for 'Greek yoghurt' made in the USA.
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.”
On 26 March 2013 the High Court handed down judgement in FAGE UK Limited v Chobani UK Limited which proved to be a classic passing-off case, only this time the subject was yoghurt. The question before the High Court was whether the phrase ‘Greek yoghurt’ carried sufficient reputation and goodwill as a distinctive yoghurt made in Greece to warrant protection. Whilst the production of yoghurt can be traced back some 15,000 years, FAGE was undoubtedly assisted by the fact that all yoghurt sold in the UK during the last 25 years labelled ‘Greek yoghurt’ was strained yoghurt made in Greece.