Showing posts with label Foods. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Foods. Show all posts

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Past Its Sell-By Date

Sometimes the utter tedium of blogging about the EU is overwhelming it makes one want to stop, especially as the same stuff comes up relentlessly. One can only admire Richard North's stamina to keep going year after year.

One such subject reared its ugly heard earlier this week, which I was alerted to by Going Fast, Getting Nowhere:
There's a whole lot of hoo-hah going on at the moment about the supposedly confusing sell-by, display-by, best before and use-by dates.
Apparently a Minister (Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman) wants to end sell-by dates on food:

"We want to end the food labelling confusion and make it clear once and for all when food is good and safe to eat," she said.

A rehash of a non-story - here's the same story from last year. In reality what we have here is another media storm in a tea cup, a day of headlines and a government that actually hasn't done anything - it cannot force companies to stop using sell-by dates. The clue in the BBC report is here:

Compliance with the new guidance is not required by law, although Defra says businesses are legally bound to label food with either a use-by or best-before date.

But don't expect the BBC to tell you how we are legally bound though, despite their report linking to the relevant document which makes it clear as early as page 4:

These guidance notes should be read in conjunction with the legislation itself (Directive 2000/13/EC)...

and page 5

This guidance does not over ride specific European Union or national provisions that require the use of a particular date mark for specific foodstuffs. For example, the date marking of eggs is controlled by the EU's Egg Marketing Standards Regulation (which require marking with a ‘best before’ date), and pre-packed fresh poultry meat is required to bear a ‘use by’ date under the terms of the EU's Regulations on marketing for poultry.

and page 6

The key piece of EU legislation for date marking of food is Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and the Council on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs (“the Directive”). The Directive is implemented in Great Britain by the Food Labelling Regulations 1996
As Chilled Food Association Director Kaarin Goodburn puts it:
"Only the EU can legislate on labelling and this guidance changes nothing."
The problem it's not that people are too stupid to read food labels but that they are too stupid to realise who our real government is.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Past Its Sell-By Date

I've often argued that the 'success' of the EU lays in large part in the unwillingness of our media to report the true extent of how much the EU interferes.

Another fine example shows itself today, when the Telegraph reports:
[That it] has learned that the coalition wants an end to the confusing proliferation of instructions on food labelling which have greatly expanded over the past decade.
Of course it is complete nonsense, as EUReferendum and Autonomous Mind excellently point out. Food labeling is exclusively an EU competence there's nothing that the coalition can do about it without permission from Brussels:
The point is, of course, that the "best before" dates are not going to be scrapped. This is because food labelling is an exclusive EU competence and the provisions are set out in Directive 2000/13/EC of 20 March 2000 on "the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs" (pictured).

The Directive is transposed into British law by the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 as amended (several times), and there are absolutely no plans to amend the Directive, or change the Regulations.
It comes to something that blogs written by volunteers provide more accurate coverage of news than paid journalists. Richard North then links to a similar article written in July last year:
Interestingly, the Baby Failygraph did a story on this on 12 July 2010, with the heading "Best-before' is well past its sell-by date". It was written by Philip Johnston who suggested that: "A 'use-by' date would stop billions of pounds of food being thrown away".
In that article are even the following words:
Although the sell-by date was introduced by Marks and Spencer in the 1950s as a stock-control guide for store-room staff, it was not until 1973 that it appeared on the shelves in M&S food stores as "a guarantee of freshness".
Now I wonder what happened in 1973? Don't expect the Telegraph to tell you.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Food Standards Authority

Douglas Carswell on his blog says:

The abolition on the Food Standards Agency is something this blog has long called for.

I cannot understand how it can be right for the state to nanny and hector us, telling us what to eat. The FSA, for example, spends a small fortune producing patronising posters lecturing us about salt intake.

More problems in Britain today are caused by the creeping infantilisation of society by the state than are the result of poor eating habits.

If we are to have a state-run food policy, I don't see why it should be left to unaccountable quangocrats to deliver it. Let ministers come before the people's tribunes and explain why they think they know best. Forced to justify itself, the case for Big Government is always less compelling than at first it seems in quangoland.

What about scrapping that other FSA, the Financial Services Authority, too?

From an acknowledged eurosceptic there seems to be something missing. The FSA, a relatively new agency - created in 2000, is being abolished because food safety will be regulated instead by another unelected, unaccountable Quango - the European Union.

In the short term, FSA’s functions are likely to be transferred to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) while the EU decides how to implement Article 13.1 of the EC Regulation on nutrition and health claims. As part of that effort the European Health Claims Alliance is holding a conference on Sept 30th in Brussels.

Why Mr Carswell doesn't mention that the EU has competences over our food regulation is a little odd to say the least.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

More Patronising Nonsense

As part of Labour's election campaign, the Government aims to micromanage the nation's eating habits by; introducing more red tape requiring restaurants to label foods described by the Government as unhealthy, regulating the size of snacks such as crisps and chocolates, and telling private companies how to sell their goods abolishing BOGOF deals on food.

As is usual with this government, though, they're all measures that have been announced before - the goverment leading by example it seems in recycling.

A couple of passages though are laughable:
The use of "best before" dates and "sell by" dates will also be sidelined to stop people throwing away edible food in favour of a "use by" label that refers to when food is no longer safe to eat.
I wonder how they will get away with that one, considering these labels are required under EU law; Directive 2000/13/EC?

And then (my emphasis):
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, who is due to announce the new strategy at the Oxford Farming Conference, said the UK could be a "food superpower" in the next ten years by revolutionising farming and food manufacturing.
Presumably Benn has not heard of the CAP which is detrimental to UK farmers. The rest of the article is then sprinkled with phrases - no doubt designed to motivate us - linked to WWII:
The first major food strategy to be published since World War Two establishes a new "Healthy Food Code of Practice"
Vegetable patches will be springing up around schools and hospitals as a result of a scheme inspired by the Dig for Victory campaign during the Second World war that saw thousands of acres of land brought into production for food.
WWII of course being the conflict where the UK had to defend herself against European invasion. Seriously it is impossible to make this stuff up.