09 October, 2006

The British stiff white upper lip

A British Dairy farm has caused controversy within the EU after it has been closed down.

Various EU Member states have banned produce from Bowland Farm in Lancashire after the European Commission found serious breaches of EU food safety rules. It stated:

There was evidence that raw milk containing antibiotic residues or contaminated with substances such as detergents and dyes was being used to make curd cheese, as was out-of-date milk collected from retail establishments. Bowland was also using mouldy and contaminated cheese (including “floor waste”) to vacuum-pack for sale.

The milk curd was sold in Europe to be turned into processed cheese.

The European Commission will be sending a team of investigators from the Food and Veterinary Office in November, with a brief to investigate the standards of the whole British Dairy industry. The UK FSA, on the other hand are not prepared at this stage to state that they are at fault. There is, they say, "a genuine difference of scientific opinion between the UK and the European Commission about how you interpret testing results for antibiotics in milk."

At present there is a Mexican stand-off between the two parties. The ban, which came in on 6 October 2006, will remain in place until the EU Commission is satisfied that the UK FSA has demonstrated that "there is no risk to human health and has changed its procedures with regard to what it demands for antibiotic testing in milk."

Until then, I shall be happily drinking Organic Milk.

Following strong campaigning by the Soil Association, Glasgow University has conducted tests on organic milk. On carrying out an assessment of their evidence, The UK Food Standards Agency concluded that it showed that organically produced milk can contain higher levels of types of fats called short-chain omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced milk.
The report went on to downplay these results, however, stating that the results showed these fatty acids "appear to be of limited health benefit compared to the longer chain omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish."

Nevertheless, The Soil Association has won a victory here. It has further scientific evidence for the link between organic food production and good quality food.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that the FSA - who provided your data saying that the organic milk was more beneficial, is also the organisation that certified that the production at Bowland Dairy Products is safe.

The FSA did a 2 day audit and said it was fine. The EU Food and Veterinary Organisation shut it down on the basis of a 90 minute inspection.

Who do you believe?