Artisan Food Law Blog
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.
The need to implement Directive 2012/12/EU and the desire to make life simpler for fruit drink producers were the driving forces behind The Fruit Juices and Fruit Nectars (England) Regulations 2013. The 2013 Regulations give effect to the Directive and consolidate, with the removal of minor ‘gold plating’ and as a part of the Red Tape Challenge, all the earlier regulations into a single set which came into force on 20 November 2013.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) consulted on the proposed changes earlier this year and publication of the response coincided with the implementation of the 2013 Regulations. The changes were broadly welcomed by the five bodies which responded to the consultation, two trade associations and three local authority trading standards bodies, and have provoked little or no critical response.
Vivien Lloyd of Vivien Lloyd Preserves reflects on the looming demise of traditional jam in this guest blog post.
After months of debate, the waiting is over. Following a consultation, Defra have decided, amongst other things, to reduce the permitted sugar level for jams, jellies and marmalades from 60% to 50%. Reducing permitted sugar levels will, over time, destroy the characteristic quality of British jams, jellies and marmalades and could potentially mislead consumers.
Traditional jams are a mixture of cooked fruit without additives, their quality is determined by the proportions of sugar, fruit, pectin and acid in the product and reducing the sugar content means the characteristic gel in the consistency of jams, jellies and marmalades will be lost.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is about to embark on a review of controls over the availability of raw drinking milk which has grown and is growing in popularity. Recent sales of raw milk using a vending machine and online sales have been criticised by the FSA as ‘not in keeping with the spirit’ of the law. This is one issue likely to feature prominently in the review.
The FSA appears to be set on tightening up the law, which may well make it much harder to buy raw milk, but is the FSA’s view correct or misguided?
In January 2013 the European Commission launched a public consultation on the future of organic agriculture. Artisan Food Law raised the hope that questions around the presence of GMOs in organic food “… do not become a precursor to proposals that would permit higher levels of contamination or, worse still, the deliberate inclusion of GM ingredients in organic products.” The report on the results of the consultation was published on 19 September and sets out clearly that the people of Europe are against GMOs.
Andrew Whitley of Bread Matters reflects on a missed opportunity in this guest blog post.
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.
Defra reviewed the need for the 1998 Regulations and a public consultation on ‘possible regulatory options’ ended on 13 March 2013. Ministers announced their decision – to do nothing – in early August, the traditional month for burying policy embarrassments. There has been predictably little reaction, which is a shame, because an opportunity has been missed to realign a part of the food system for good.
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.
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.