Poultry farming in south west France placed under tight restrictions

The French agricultural authorities intend to create an 'air lock' in an attempt to rid the poultry industry in the south west of France of H5N1 bid flu.

In an official notice, the authorities have said that the introduction of geese and ducks into the poultry trade would be restricted until there were no new birds in the supply chain.

Once the current stock of foie gras and other products is completed, farms and industrial buildings will be thoroughly cleaned in an attempt to rid the region of bird flu.

The French authorities have said that farmers do not need to cull birds already in the process of being raised, but that their plan will hopefully see the return of health birds, in clean environments, by May and enable the industry to recover in time for Christmas 2016.

Since late last year the number of cases of bird flu have increased having an impact on more than 60 farms across the south west, and it has seen many countries ban the importation of poultry products from France.

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More cases of bird flu in the poultry trade in south west France

Bird flu south west France
The French ministry of agriculture has said it now suspects there has been a total of 30 cases of bird flu H5N1 in the south west of France.

In an update on the ministry website the authorities say 15 new instances of bird flu have been discovered since the beginning of the week.

These new cases total nine in les Landes, three in the Dordogne, two in the Gers and one in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

Some poultry and egg producers in the region have experienced a fall in demand, while some countries notably Japan and South Korea have banned poultry products from France.

However, it is being stressed that it is safe to eat cooked poultry and eggs, as the virus dies with cooking over 70°C, but with the festive period upon us many producers could be facing difficult times.

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Reaching out to develop and value the production of bio chestnuts

Bio-chestnut-amiguetYves Amiguet, third from right, explains the grafting process
A recruitment drive is underway to increase the number of producers of bio chestnuts in the Dordogne, as demand for the nuts continues to rise in Europe and across the world.

Last week around 50 people took part in an afternoon of information and hands-on advice at the foyer rural in Villefranche-du-Périgord that looked to offer help to owners of small chestnut woods, or those who were keen to transform other plots of land.

In the Dordogne there are around 100 producers of bio chestnuts, a long way behind numbers in southern parts of France, yet the demand is there as the market for bio products has increased by about 10% a year.

Continue reading "Reaching out to develop and value the production of bio chestnuts" »

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Cèpes in December in the Dordogne

You can blame global warming, the fifth aspect of the lunar calendar or just good luck, but one woman is rubbing her hands with glee after finding cèpe mushrooms in mid-December.

France Bleu Perigord reports that the woman collected a couple of cèpes from a secret location just south of Périgueux.

Mild weather towards the end of November is being given as the reason for the cèpes pousse, with a mushroom specialist saying it is rare to see them at this time of the year and could well be as a consequence of global warming.

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Food waste law passes through French parliament

Food that remains unsold in supermarkets will now have to be donated to charitable groups after legislation was passed by the French parliament.

The new law will come into force early next year and also means food can't be spoiled to prevent its donation, with waste food items being passed on to charitable groups, or if not suitable used for compost or even energy production.

The Guardian reports that the law was proposed by the councillor of a French town and that he was able to use an online petition, as well as changing attitudes to waste, to ensure the swift adoption of the law.

The law will come into effect after it has been rubber-stamped by the Sénat, the upper house of the French parliament, on 13 January.

Arash Derambarsh, a local councillor who has campaigned for the law, said it was “a historic victory”. “It’s extremely rare for a law to be passed so quickly and with unanimous support,” he told the Guardian.

The new legislation allows individuals to set up associations, with the approval of the agriculture ministry, to collect and distribute food. “It means that ordinary citizens can show their solidarity and help distribute this food to those who need it,” said Derambarsh.

The online petition was hosted on change.org and in his argument Arash Derambarsh said that each supermarket in France wasted around 20kg of food each day - more than 210,000 people signed the petition.

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Nutella spat: French minister says sorry over call to stop eating spread

France’s environment minister Ségolène Royal has offered “a thousand apologies” after urging the public to stop eating Nutella because it was destroying the environment.

Royal’s Italian counterpart told tell her to “leave Italian products alone” after she criticised the use of palm oil in the hazelnut spread, which is made by Italian confectionery company Ferrero.

The spat over one of Italy’s most important products came at an already tense moment in Italian-French relations, with a bitter standoff over hundreds of migrants stranded in the Italian border city of Ventimiglia after being denied entry into France.

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Stop eating Nutella and save the forests, urges French ecology minister

France’s ecology minister, Ségolène Royal, has rankled the company that makes Nutella by urging the public to stop eating its chocolate hazelnut spread, saying it contributes to deforestation.

“We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming.

"We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it’s made with palm oil,” Royal said in an interview late Monday on the French television network Canal+.

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The world's best cheesemonger is, naturally enough, from France

THE best cheesemonger in the world is, naturally enough, a Frenchman who on Sunday won the award at an international competition.

Fabien Degoulet, the son of dairy merchants but who now lives in Japan, beat many other cheese masters to capture the title of International Best Cheesemonger.

The Frenchman came out top against other contestants from the the United States, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, China and Israel.

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Man who forced French supermarkets to donate food wants to take law global

A councillor whose campaign against food waste led to a law forcing French supermarkets to donate unwanted food to charity has set his sights on getting similar legislation passed globally.

Arash Derambarsh said it was “scandalous and absurd” that food is wasted and in some cases deliberately spoiled while the homeless, poor and unemployed go hungry.

Derambarsh – a municipal councillor for the “Divers Droit” (diverse right) in the suburb of Courbevoie, north-west of Paris – persuaded French MPs to adopt the regulation after a petition gained more than 200,000 signatures and celebrity support in just four months.

The amendment was approved as part of a wider law – the Loi Macron – that covers economic activity and equality in France and is expected to be passed by the national assembly on Tuesday, entering the statute books shortly afterwards.

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Pret a Manger to expand in France and US

PretPret a Manger is to almost double the number of its stores in Paris, and open eight more in the US after a 14% rise in profits last year.

The sandwich chain, which is owned by the management and private equity firm Bridgepoint, made underlying profits of £76m after a 16% rise in sales to £594m. Sales at established stores rose nearly 10% as buyers snapped up 16% more hot foods including porridge and macaroni cheese.

Pret, which paid its staff a bonus in October when it hit £10m sales a week in the UK, is benefiting from a trend towards eating on the go, which supermarkets say is affecting their sales.

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