Friday, 22 August 2014

Breaking the law

is, it seems, easy to do. Most of us break the law at some point. Some do it deliberately. Others do it without meaning to do it and without intending any harm to others.
Readers of my witterings who live in other places are probably completely unaware of a woman called Maggie Beer. She lives in the Barossa Valley and runs a food business which employs about one hundred people. She has a property where it is possible to eat and buy her products. She makes much of the fact that she lives in the Barossa and has appeared in a television series called "The Cook (herself) and the Chef (a rather interesting young man)."
She has recently been hauled over the coals by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission because four of her approximately two hundred products are not made in the Barossa but are made in (a) Victoria and (b) Queensland. No, they are not made overseas - merely in other states - but the ACCC did not like this because the labels suggested to them that the products were being made in the Barossa Valley. They prosecuted.
Yes, you may well ask what is going on. Just before I wrote this I also read a comment on that notorious Facebook site saying that the EU is intending to regulate the size of vacuum cleaner motors. Apparently they are too powerful. Something has to be done about that. I don't know whether there have been people killed using powerful vacuum cleaners in the correct manner. I doubt it. This is surely just regulation gone mad?
Add both those things to the increasingly crazy rules and regulations that govern our lives. I read labels when I go into the supermarket. "Made in Australia" does not mean that the ingredients or components are made here. They can be grown or manufactured overseas and then combined or assembled here. I would be much more interested if the ACCC turned its attention to some of those who mislabel their products in this way. They won't. The law will allow people to get away with saying "Made in Australia".
Is it time we started to ask why organisations like the ACCC and the EU regulators are so concerned with the minutiae of life. Is it because they believe that these things are the most important? Have they simply ceased trying to fix the major problems? Do they believe there are no answers to the long term issues or that they can only be dealt with by interfering with every other aspect of life?
It is all about how you read the label.

And, talking of reading "labels", it is worth noting that there is a big difference between "innocent until proven guilty", "no case to answer" and not proceeding with a case because it is "unlikely to lead to a conviction". The ACCC seems to have forgotten that - as have others.


Helen Devries said...

France has just introduced regulations by which restaurant menus must show which itens have been prepared in the restaurant;s own kitchen....but if the item is prepared from, say, indistrialo mince, it still counts as 'home made'.
Utterly nuts.

jeanfromcornwall said...

The vacuum cleaner thing is to make us all use less powerful cleaners, to reduce energy usage. Which proves that the regulators know naff all about cleaning, since a lower powered machine just needs to be used for longer to do the job. I am so glad I have my very high powered machine - bought about twenty years ago, but of such good quality that it will probably be fought over by my children when I am gone!

The problem with the EU bods is that they have to keep thinking up whizzy schemes or we might stop paying them. They are none of them elected. They also don't seem to have two brain cells to rub together, and certainly can't appreciate the stupidity of what they try and tell us. For example: Stilton cheese can only be made in a tightly defined area of Leicestershire. There is a cheese that is indistinguishable from Stilton, made by the same receipe, and ripened in the same way, and made in the village of Stilton. It cannot be called Stilton, since that village is slightly outside the area.

catdownunder said...

Jean, the regulators have probably never used a vacuum cleaner!
Helen, that sounds like false advertising to me!

Anonymous said...

I want a more powerful vacuum cleaner so I don't have to go over every spot twice! Make those making the rules do the job ... over and over again!

catdownunder said...

couldn't agree more Judy!