torsdag 9 november 2006

Brazil nuts nuttiness - British bonkers application of EU rules

It has become increasingly difficult to get Brazil nuts in their shells, and the ones without shells that I get from Infinity Foods are more often than not rancid or mouldy and I have to take them back, which they are OK about. The reason it seems is due to EU regulations which are meant to cut down on the risk of people consuming aflatoxin which causes cancer. The aflatoxin comes from a mould that grows on or in the nuts.

I had correspondence with my Euro MP, Caroline Lucas, and she followed it up. Eventually I was told that it comes down to the method of testing when the product comes into UK ports. They are ground up and tested, shell and all if they are shipped in their shells, even though nobody eats the shells. But the shells often have this contamination so nuts in shell nearly always fail the test, so they have stopped shipping them.

But if they are shelled and dehusked in South America before they are shipped, they start to deteriorate and often go rancid. Also, some contaminated nuts end up getting packed and then you get a whole sackful of mouldy nuts. And as only a few sacks get sampled, you are more likely to end up eating mouldy nuts than if they were shipped in their shells.

This stupidity has the hallmark of DEFRA stamped all over it.

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