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. The economic, environmental, social and human cost was, however, much higher and far in excess of what it ought to have been. The scale of the outbreak was due largely due to the fact that it was one of the most poorly managed. The ban on swill-feeding pigs was one among many hasty, ill-considered actions. We live with the legacy of the ban on swill-feeding today, at a time when the imperative is to eliminate food waste and reduce food miles to combat climate change. The rationale which underpinned the ban must be brought into question.
Farmfoods frozen beef burgers carry both Quality Meat Scotland’s ‘Scotch Beef’ assurance mark and the EU protected geographical indication (PGI) logo. Packs of 16 beef burgers are advertised at 4 for £10. That makes a ‘BEST SCOTCH BEEF’ burger cost 15.6p! A deal too good to be true? The Elliott Review, which looked at integrity and assurance in the food chain in the wake of horsegate, had illustrated how to produce a ‘gourmet’ burger for less than 30p and encouraged searching questions.
Farmfoods burgers may, as things stand, be made from Scotch Beef, but is it decent, honest and truthful to describe them as made from the ‘BEST SCOTCH BEEF’?
Burgers cooked ‘as you like them’ are back on the menu at Davy’s Wine Bars and Restaurants after two years of legal wrangling with Westminster City Council. The Artisan Food Law Blog provided the background to this story back in December 2012 and we can now bring you up to date.
In July last year Davy’s secured the right to serve rare burgers and in a second case, heard on 17 December last month, Westminster offered no evidence and the prosecution was dropped. It is the reasoning of the court set out in the judgement handed down last July which provides interesting reading.
Yesterday at Trealy Farm was a voyage of discovery and understanding , today our journey continues as we discover how to make good use of the whole animal. It was James’ turn to lead.
First, a hearty breakfast of the famous Trealy Farm boudin noir (black pudding), bacon and freshly laid eggs with plenty of good bread and all the accompaniments you might expect set us up for the day.
I knew this was going to be a special experience from the outset, food from farm to fork and every stage in between. We, my son Nat and I, arrived at Trealy Farm for The Meat Course in good time on a Friday evening in early March to a warm welcome from Ruth and James, the brains and inspiration behind all that goes on at Trealy Farm. Nicky, our amazing cook for the weekend, was already busy at work wrestling with a pig’s head, roasting beetroot and preparing celeriac soup for the following day. We were the first to arrive and privileged to have such a relaxed introduction to the weekend.
On 4 March 2013 the European Commission published the results of a study undertaken on the value of Geographical Indication (GI) food products. The results provide some insight into the overall impact of GI products which are considered here from the perspective of the UK.
A GI is the name of a product where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. It is a type of intellectual property right that can apply in the EU to different types of products under one of four schemes.
May be that headline should have read: Westminster insists burgers must be indigestibly tough or incinerated prior to consumption?
Over the last few weeks Westminster City Council has come in for a lot of stick for a reported crack down by environmental health officers on sales of medium rare and rare burgers. This followed earlier reports about Westminster’s action in requiring the Brasserie Blanc in Covent Garden to cook calves’ liver at a core temperature of 70oC for two minutes.
On a day when I read that 1 in 5 adults think parsnips grow on trees and hear that 76% of our local butchers, some 19,000, have closed over the last 30 years my level of despair rises exponentially. I am neither a butcher nor grower of parsnips, but I almost wondered whether it’s not time to give up and simply hand over the shop keys to Tesco accepting, as the Financial Times put it earlier this year, that it was time to let the British high street die. That took a mere second because I don’t give up on the things I cherish, especially where food is concerned, not ever!