Think You’re Over-Regulated? Visit Europe
Do you like Peking Duck? Well, don’t count on getting it in Europe. Restaurants are being shut down for failing to meet European Union rules, despite the absence of any health problem. Reports the Daily Mail:
It is the nation’s favourite Chinese dish — adored by millions and a staple feature on the menus of restaurants and takeaways the length and breadth of Britain.
But Peking Duck could now be forced into extinction by an EU ban on the ovens traditionally used to prepare it.
Council inspectors have been busily visiting restaurants that use the ovens and sealing them closed with tape because they do not carry a CE (ConformitÃ© EuropÃ©enne) mark certifying that the equipment meets safety standards on carbon-monoxide emissions laid down by Brussels.
Ten restaurants in London — including some in the famous Chinatown district — have so far been affected and scores more in the capital will be hit in coming weeks.
Other councils around Britain are also being urged to take similar action.
The clampdown comes despite an admission by council officials that there have been no reported health problems linked to the ovens, which are made in China and are also used to cook Cantonese Duck and suckling pig.
Not all news from Europe is bad. Or at least totally bad. At least officials admit that the size regulations which force the destruction of perfectly good fruit and vegetables make no sense. But while the majority of countries seem agreed on the need to change the rules, France, Italy, and some of their less efficient brethren remain committed to this peculiar form of food protectionism. Reports the Times of London:
It’s official: European diktats on the size and shape of fruit and vegetables are bananas.
Even the European Commission now wants them scrapped to avoid wasting good food in times of global shortage.
The commission, in a step backed by the UK, will this week attempt to reform strict rules governing standards on such matters as the colour of leeks, the bendiness of cucumbers and the shape of carrots.
In a vote in Brussels, Britain, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany will support moves to reform the marketing standards amid fears that they are making the world food crisis worse.
However, France, Spain, Italy and other countries are expected to oppose the plan, claiming that the standards “play an important role in market operations while protecting consumers”. Critics suspect they are just protecting their vested interests.
So remember, it could get worse here!