Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Tag ‘cockles’

Myths and chips

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

World-renowned scientists – and not “barmy EU chiefs”, as The Sun has it – have produced a report for the European Commission on how the oceans, notably through acquaculture, can produce more food, more sustainably.

This is a crucial global challenge, with the world’s population forecast to reach a possible 10 billion by 2050.

The report does, as The Sun says, recommend among other things producing more mussels, oysters, cockles, clams and – yes – seaweed, all of which have of course been eaten in the UK for a long time.

It does not say people should stop eating fish and chips. Indeed, its recommendations aim to allow for the sustainable production of more, not less, of the types of fish that Brits and many others enjoy eating with chips.

These are recommendations by a group of eminent scientists, including Sir Paul Nurse of London’s Francis Crick Institute.

Any EU policy changes would, as usual, need to be proposed by the European Commission and approved, after amendment, by elected members of the European Parliament and by ministers from national governments.

Sun readers can be reassured: despite the codswallop, many “EU bureaucrats” themselves, “barmy” or not, enjoy fish and chips (and mushy peas, which the British press accused the EU of banning back in 1995, but which are miraculously still with us). They – we – want everyone else to carry on doing so, too.

Oh, and cod is still called cod as well despite these media stories from 2001 claiming it would have to be sold in the chippie by its Latin name.

Cockle-traders to be forced to buy expensive steaming equipment

Wednesday, November 11th, 1992

Statement: EC legislation is threatening to put British cockle-pickers out of business thanks to hygiene regulations that came into effect on 1.1.1993 in which they are obliged to steam their catch at 90C for some 90 seconds. To enforce these regulations cockle-traders are required to install very expensive tachograph-style instruments in order to prove to environmental health inspectors that the temperature is kept high enough for long enough.

Response: This is only partially correct. The relevant EC Directive* actually only applies to molluscs not suitable for direct human consumption because they are harvested in polluted waters; the level of pollution is specified in Points lb and 1c of Directive 91/492/EEC. This directive also stipulates that it is up to the Member States to classify their fishing zones under the categories “clean” and “polluted”. Without the steaming process outlined above the molluscs would have to be subjected to purification treatments before they could be placed on the market for direct human consumption.

Steaming was in fact originally a method peculiar to the UK and Spain. It is in fact at these two countries’ request that this piece of legislation will have been introduced throughout the EC.

Moreover, it has also been wrongly alleged that cockle-traders must buy tachograph-style instruments. Actually the person in charge of the heat treatment need only keep up a register including details on the cooking process itself; these registers must be available at any time for consultation by national inspectors or by experts from the Commission.

* Commission Decision 93/25/EEC, 11.12.1992.

Scores of foreign boats to invade Essex coast

Wednesday, November 11th, 1992

Statement: From January 1, 1993, an EC Directive will allow cockles caught in one country to be cooked in another. This has been interpreted to mean that scores of foreign boats will exploit cockle beds off the Essex coast.

Response: From January 1,1993, existing UK public health requirements on molluscs are being replaced by new EC requirements (Directive 91/493/EEC, L 268 of 24.9.91). One effect will be that cockles from certain parts of the Thames estuary will no longer have to be processed in a particular plant at Leigh-on-Sea. It is possible that more UK operators may enter the fishery once it is permissible to have the cockles processed in approved plants elsewhere in the EC. However, everyone fishing for cockles within 3 miles of the coast of England and Wales is subject to local Sea Fisheries Committees bye-laws. Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries Committee have made 6 bye-laws which are intended to impose greater control on cockle fishing within their district. These have now been submitted for ministerial confirmation and are currently being considered.

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

Share buttons

Twitter feeds


We welcome your comments. They will be moderated. Please keep to the topic and use respectful language.