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Women’s Institute home-made produce requires full list of ingredients

June 17th, 2005
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WI in a pickle over safety
To the many satisfied customers who buy Ann Doy’s prized homemade piccalilli it does not matter where the ingredients have come from. It is the taste that counts. But government officials, acting on European regulations, are determined that she, and thousands like her, must now account for every ingredient, insisting on them keeping receipts for a year for each item purchased. So, for her autumn chutneys this year, Mrs Doy will need to keep a record of the marrows grown in her father’s garden, the runner beans and the green tomatoes from her own, the onions and courgettes from the farm shop and mustard and sugar she purchases from Tesco… Mrs Doy sells her chutneys alongside jams, cakes and savouries on offer at the weekly country market, run mainly by WI stalwarts…
Kath Turner, 62, a member of the local Loosley Row and Lacey Green WI, has been selling cakes at the stall for 20 years. “We haven’t poisoned anyone yet, so where is the need for this,” she said. “The WI has been selling homemade produce since 1919 and no one has died. It’s so pointless. If I use something from my own garden I have to write a receipt out to myself.” All the produce has the ingredients clearly listed. “We don’t mind that. But to have a record of which apple came from which tree at the bottom of the garden is a nonsense.”
(The Daily Telegraph 17 June 2005)

Ann Doy and Kath Turner are not required by “EU regulations” to list every ingredient in their autumn chutneys and cakes. The same goes for keeping tabs on father’s marrows. This is because Women’s Institute fêtes and functions, where homemade products are generally sold loose or pre-packed, are exempt from EU food labelling laws, as are restaurants and sandwich bars. These measures were introduced (and voted on by all EU members including the UK) to help the 8% of children and 3% of adults who suffer from food allergies. Listing all the ingredients on packaged foods sold in supermarkets will enable them to avoid the reactions and often chronic illnesses that are caused, a point the Telegraph neglects to mention.

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