EU regulation sounds “death knell” for Irish agricultural shows

The Irish Times

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

EU rule likely to leave a bad taste with bakers

ANNA-MARIE FLYNN

TRADITIONAL bakery exhibitions are at risk of being consigned to history thanks to a new European directive.

New EU regulations have banned the consumption of cakes and confectionary entered at country fairs and agricultural shows immediately after baking competitions.

The chairman of Mayo County Council, Cllr Joe Mellett, said the new rules were the “death knell” for the Irish agricultural show.

“When you see things like this it’s no wonder the people voted No to the Lisbon Treaty. This will be the end of the traditional baking competition at local shows across the country, therefore impacting on local revenue. It’s just ridiculous.”

Under the rules adjudicators of bakery sections in local shows are only permitted to taste the traditional favourites such as apple tarts or cheese cakes. Once the judging is over, the produce must be immediately destroyed. As a result, only bite-sized versions of the cakes will be entered in shows.

The directive has already been made law in Scotland.

Mr Mellett, one of the founding members of his own local agricultural show in Swinford, said he “could not believe” the latest EU directive.

“Honestly, when I saw this first I thought it was something to do with April Fools’ Day. I just couldn’t imagine someone sitting down and coming up with this rule.

“It is a real deterrent to those entering shows. If you thought your prize produce was going to be destroyed immediately after a tiny taste was taken from it, then you would not want to enter a competition.”

He added: “Local people are doing their best to continue on traditions, particularly in places like the west of Ireland, and this is what they are met with.”

© 2008 The Irish Times

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