Traditional Foods

Supermarket chicken at least 62 times riskier than raw drinking milk

4 May 2015 - 11:04am -- Gerry Danby
3 for £10 chicken or raw milk - which is riskier?

Comparisons can be fraught with difficulty, but all food carries some degree of risk and all risks are relative. Supermarket chicken and raw drinking milk are two foods in the news headlines recently, how do they compare?

The British Poultry Council estimates that in 2013 about 870 million chickens were bred, hatched, reared, and slaughtered in the UK and the equivalent of another 400 million birds were imported, mainly from Europe. A total of 1,270 million. There are no official figures for raw milk sales, but best estimates suggest that around 1.2 million litres or just over 2.1 million pints of raw drinking milk are presently consumed in the UK every year.

The FSA and so-called ‘risky foods’ – raw milk and rare burger update

13 February 2015 - 1:20pm -- Gerry Danby
Rare burgers - a vanishing food?

This post is an updated version of ‘ The FSA and so-called ‘risky’ foods’ which was published on 2 November 2014. Since then the Board of the FSA has met twice to consider the ‘risky’ foods framework and, more recently, burgers served rare.

A seemingly innocuous discussion paper was presented to the Board of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) early last November. ‘Our Approach to “Risky” Foods’ set out a significant new approach to the management of so-called ‘risky’ foods.

The FSA and so-called ‘risky’ foods

2 November 2014 - 1:32pm -- Gerry Danby
Raw minced veal - a common traditional dish in Italy

The FSA’s apparent change of heart on raw drinking milk over the summer earlier this year seemed like a breeze of fresh air, a more rational and reasonable approach to the management of food safety risks looked to be in the making. It now seems that a return to historical paranoia is the order of the day.

On 5 November 2014, this coming Wednesday, the Board of the FSA meets and will discuss ‘Our Approach to ‘Risky’ Foods’, a report prepared by Steve Wearne, the FSA’s Director of Policy. In the report ‘risky’ foods are “those foods that pose, or are perceived to pose, risks that are greater than those posed by the majority of foods that are not subject to specific controls.” Where the authority for defining a group of foods in such subjective terms comes from is unclear, but it seems the FSA is again set on demonising traditional foods which it perceives pose a greater level of risk.

The rise … or is it fall of artisan cheese?

8 September 2014 - 12:56pm -- Gerry Danby
The rise and rise ... of Montgomery Cheddar

It all rather depends on the country in which you live whether artisan cheese is in the ascendancy or under threat. Happily, in the UK the former is clearly the case, but the picture elsewhere looks mixed at best.

Three contrasting news stories have appeared over recent weeks which consider the future of small scale raw milk cheese production in the US, France and the UK and raise important questions.

Raw milk consultation outcome published – good news with due credit to the FSA

14 July 2014 - 11:24am -- Gerry Danby
Raw milk from Fen Farm Dairy and Hook & Son

The pasteurisation of all milk cannot be justified and raw milk vending machines have a place – say the Food Standards Agency.

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) consultation undertaken as a part of its review of the controls governing the sale of raw drinking milk and cream closed on 30 April. True to its word, the FSA published the outcome of this consultation last Friday. Steve Wearne, the FSA’s Director of Food Safety, summarises the outcome in a report for consideration by the Board of the FSA later this month. A full response to the comments submitted is expected to be published before 30 July.

The responses – all 536 – were overwhelmingly in support of greater access to raw drinking milk with just four respondents calling for the pasteurisation of all milk. What has the FSA made of them all? Due credit to the FSA for what is, on the whole, good news.

‘Mountain product’ now an optional EU quality term for food products

9 July 2014 - 1:28pm -- Gerry Danby
Herdwick sheep in the Lake District

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.

10 reasons to keep and nurture raw drinking milk

25 April 2014 - 10:30am -- Gerry Danby
The Moo Man

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) public consultation on the future availability of raw drinking milk comes to a close in a few days on 30 April. Artisan Food Law has covered many different issues surrounding raw milk over the last 12 months and more, so now seems a good time to bring some key ones together and provide, in no particular order, 10 good reasons for securing the future of raw milk.

A few days of the FSA’s public consultation remain. If you are one of the 77% of people who support the continued sale and availability of raw drinking milk, even if you would personally not choose to drink it, you have a brief opportunity left to let the FSA know. Simply send a note to Freddie Lachhman at the FSA, either by e-mail to RDM@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk or write to him at: Food Hygiene Policy, Food Standards Agency, 1st Floor, Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London WC2B 6BH.

Make sure the message gets through by 30 April that raw drinking milk is here to stay and the choice whether to consume it must be one which is real and meaningful.

The Future of Raw Milk Regulation – more restrictions or freedom of choice?

6 April 2014 - 12:02pm -- Gerry Danby
Fen Farm Dairy and Hook & Son raw milk

On 31 March the Food Standards Agency (FSA) hosted an open meeting for anyone interested in the future of raw drinking milk. The FSA has been reviewing the regulations on raw milk for the last two years and this meeting was a part of the public consultation which runs until 30 April.

There have been no reported outbreaks of illness associated with raw drinking milk in the UK since 2002 while throughout this period well in excess of 10 million litres of raw drinking milk has been consumed. The absence of any reported outbreak is no accident or coincidence but a credit to the high standards of production applied by today’s raw milk producers. This formed the background to the discussion.

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