Risk, Hazard, and Food Security


“Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath” — Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Shakespeare might just as well have said “must risk and hazard all he hath”, since (so far as I know) the two words meant more or less the same in his time — though he would scarcely have been guilty of tautology.

But today, thanks to the Health and Safety Commissars, the words seem to have taken on slightly separate meanings (please bear with me — this is important). A hazard is a substance (or a situation) which is dangerous in itself. But risk is the danger associated with the hazard in a particular situation, where the degree of danger may be mitigated by circumstance.

Take an example. Chlorine gas is dangerous stuff and clearly represents a hazard. Yet we cheerfully add it to the water in our swimming pools. Why? Because although chlorine remains a hazard, the risk it poses in proper solution in our swimming pools is minuscule. The risk from bacterial contamination in untreated water would be much more severe. So by chlorinating, we have replaced a significant risk with a very minor risk.

A key lesson here: the risk of using a “hazardous” substance must be weighed against the risk of not using it. Equally, the risk of using the substance must be weighed against the risk of using alternative products. There was the classic case of phthalates, used in polythene (in baby’s bottles, for example) as a softener. The EU banned the phthalates, which were then replaced with other chemicals whose risk profile was less well known.

So what has this to do with food security? Well the EU institutions are “off on one”, fired up by their “Precautionary Principle”, determined to ban plant protection products which are hazardous, despite the risks of using them in practice being very small indeed (their use is already heavily regulated), and with apparently no consideration of the implications of (A) Not using them; (B) Replacing them with other substances; (C) Promoting the import of crops which have been grown overseas — often using the very plant protection products we were worried about in the first place.

Over the years, the EU has banned a whole series of plant protection products, to the point where British agriculture has very few shots left in the locker — and there are real fears of pathogens developing resistance to the few that remain, as a result of over-use.

The impacts on agriculture are perverse. First, crop yields are reduced — sometimes by large percentages. Secondly, farming becomes less viable. Crops may no longer be grown, farms may close, farmers may leave the industry. The NFU has commissioned a study from Andersons on the effects of the loss of these vital products, and the impact of the new bans in the pipeline. They predict the following impacts:

• Little or no domestic production of key crops like frozen peas, fresh carrots, apples
• The Gross Value Added of UK agriculture cut by £1.6 billion (that’s 20% of the last five years average)
• Total UK farm income drops by £1.73 billion — that’s 36%
• 35 to 40,000 job losses

And after all that, we would merely be promoting the imports of crops grown abroad, using the very substances which we had sought to ban. This would be a major disaster, which would increase food prices, cut UK production, boost imports, worsen our Balance of Payments, and jeopardise our food security.

Sometimes people warn me that while many farmers sympathise with UKIP, they nevertheless want to stay in the EU for the sake of those CAP cheques. But of course UKIP understands that in a world of farm subsidies, British farmers need support payments to survive. We think a scheme designed in Britain for British farmers must be better than a scheme designed in Brussels for French farmers — and when we leave the EU, we’ll be better able to afford it.

But the farmers I meet don’t seem too keen on the EU. They mainly express serious concerns about the impact of EU rules. The banning of crop protection products. The “Three Crop Rule” (don’t ask). The form-filling and box-ticking on which those CAP cheques increasingly depend. It’s very clear to me that British farmers, like the rest of Britain, will be Better Off Out.

But don’t take my word for it. The Right Honourable Liz Truss is Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (no, that doesn’t mean Aga Sagas!). She says that EU rules are damaging British farmers.  And for once, she’s absolutely right.

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28 Responses to Risk, Hazard, and Food Security

  1. Jane Davies says:

    You really can’t make this up. If I can see the damage these daft regulations are causing then why can’t the pen pushers in Brussels see it? Has any one of them donned their wellies and got down and dirty and talked to real farmers? Answers on a postcard please!

    • Flyinthesky says:

      These committee’s are often manned by people who have no skin in or knowledge of the game, they are purely motivated by an agenda.
      The interesting question for me would be ” could the UK in the absence of the CAP be self sufficient in agricultural terms” A question for you Roger.
      The much vaunted world trade situation is the recipe for a place on the treadmill, the essential question to me, in agricultural terms, could we survive without it. I’m not meaning the satisfaction of wants here, tomatoes in January etc, but needs.
      Trade should be a bonus, when it becomes a necessity for survival it is becomes harsh master.
      This analogy applies to all areas, National defence, if we constitute a 28th of a defence force, autonomous capability is actively discouraged, we are at the mercy of people who are working to a different agenda, it isn’t ours but theirs. The fact that we are accepting this makes my blood run cold.

      • Roger Helmer MEP says:

        Dear Fly,

        I don’t think we could be self-sufficient in or out — but when we leave, we’ll be able to reduce our dependence on imports and improve our food security. We mustn’t deny ourselves the benefits of international trade, but we must reduce our dependence on imports. Free of EU rules, we could produce more food. It’s as simple as that.

  2. Roger Helmer MEP says:

    Jane — a major factor is this. MEPs love to be able to issue a press release “MEP votes to protect consumers from……”. It’s much more difficult to explain the ideas I set out here in a punchy headline.

  3. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Vine Weevil. Its devastaing and the EU are part of that widespread devastation. Nematodes cost a lot and need target times, so its down to hand testing and grub squashing – often too late. There are other pests that have left my 20 odd Bay shrubs partly wrecked…the EU again. I spray the latest offering (Bayer) and pests are back annually.Have to buy leaves to be safe?

    And its true…the food imports come from places where dangerous use of pesticides occur. And not just that. Nevermind the labels and assurances. The severity of hazards ever exists and if not assessed properly leaves us either weak or severely damaged. The later will be energy policy for a start off.

    Comission, Commisioner, Communism. MEP’s seem to me to be expensive background noise largely? Somebody has to do it…. simply to realise and report!

    Suzanne Evans (ukip) on QT was good this week. Davey wandering about as usual…soon to be gone!

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      Try hard wood ash dusted over the wetted leaves in the evening. Rinse off the next morning and bugs are history.

      Wood ash is fantastic, mix with a little water to a paste removes cooker grime, and glass fronted stove doors.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Brin…I reckon the problem is Garden Centres. I don’t buy their junk, but many do, so importing the pests to a place near you/us. And these are serious b*ggers, to which the EU has left us distinctly disadvantaged. Will keep pitchforks sharpened I think!

  4. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Climate Change by Numbers…coming from BBC4 soon. Oh yes, they are adding to the volumes of crap again – to get a sign up later this year.

  5. stallardmike says:

    Two pertinent questions:
    1. How much of this Directive comes from the Codex Alimentarius?
    2. What are the views of Ukip on the recent paper by Civitas on the Norway Option?

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      (1) Don’t know. (2) Haven’t read the paper, but why the Norway option? Why not the Korea option? We’re a major trading nation and the EU’s largest customer — we can dictate terms. We don’t need to accept terms agreed by those with weaker negotiating positions.

  6. Anne says:

    Stallardmike. “Codex Alimentarius” which literary translated from Latin means, “Food Code. Sometimes just simply, “Codex” is used but that is the only thing that is “simple”.
    In the Official Journal of the EC (16.9.97 L 253/13) beneath the heading, “The Ability of the GMM to survive in and colonise the human gut” with the passage underneath “The genetic modification might facilitate survival during passage through the intestines and colonization of the human gut. Antagonistic and synergistic effects on the composition of the intestinal flora may occur and have an influence on human health. Therefore experimental data are required on the respective properties of the GMO”.
    When I read (28.4.97 C 132/30) that a GM maize had been passed in the EU Parliament, even though 13 out of 15 opposed the placing on the market of a maize, which read, “whereas large scale use of the Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) toxin raises environmental concerns”. And also, “and the conclusions of the Scientific Committee for Food on the risks of transmission to man of a tracer gene resistant to antibiotics.” I understand there are still concerns even now. Perhaps it may bring an understanding to you, why, not only do I not trust anything that contains GMO’s in food now, I most certainly do not trust the people that place these goods on the market for innocent children to eat or drink. No, I will never forgive them for what they are doing. Up to now I have not noticed any markings stating “Made from GM Maize etc, Have you?

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Here I’m afraid I have to disagree with you, Anne. We have been eating GM products for two decades, and most of the baked goods in your supermarket will have at least trace amounts of GM. Yet there is no evidence of any harm. And bear in mind that you and I and every living organism are “genetically modified”. That’s what evolution is about. Why are managed modifications better, in your view, than random modifications? I am reminded of the advice of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings: “You are surrounded by dangers, Gimli son of Gloin, for you are dangerous yourself, in your fashion”.

      • Jane Davies says:

        Also man being his own worst enemy!

      • Anne says:

        If there is the slightest possibility of some-thing that is not “quite right and safe” re GMO’s then we should leave well alone. However, my previous contribution I read from the EU Parliament, I also read from UK Parliaments and yet STILL there is doubt and for once and for the moment National Governments may kindly “have their say” and make their own decisions on this matter.(For now!) However, while there is ANY DOUBT AT ALL ON THE LONG TERM EATING OF FOODS REGARDING GMO’S, I PREFER TO AVOID THEM IF POSSIBLE.
        Here is a little re GMO’s for those that are interested in what they may be eating, although I would rather have natural WAR Raitions than GMO’s for the latter is not what I would choose to eat, IF WE WERE GIVEN A CHOICE-BUT WE ARE NOT GIVEN A CHOICE, ARE WE?
        This is just a tiny bit re my research on GMO’s. Parliament backs GMO opt-out for EU member states Plenary Session Press release – Environment − 13-01-2015 – 13:24 New legislation to allow EU member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their own territory, even if this is allowed at EU level, was passed by MEPs on Tuesday. The legislation, informally agreed by Parliament and Council in December, was originally tabled in 2010 but was then deadlocked for four years due to disagreement between pro- and anti-GMO member states. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20150109IPR06306/html/Parliament-backs-GMO-opt-out-for-EU-member-states
        UK Postnote Number 483 November 2014 GM Insects and Disease Control. Post Note GM Crops and Regulation Up dates Jan 2015.
        UK Post note June 2001 Number 157 GM Animals.
        Official Journal of the EU L 157 Vol 56 8 June 2013.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        Agreed Roger, genes are modified and selected. its when we start messing with seeds that are unable to replicate themselves that I worry. When we are unable to save seed stock, we get tied to the Monsanto’s of this World who feel new seeds every year, that only they will sell, is good for Monsanto’s share holders.

    • Anne: You say “If there is the slightest risk” we should avoid GM. With that attitude, you’d never ride in a car, or fly in a plane, or walk down stairs. All human life involves a measure of risk. We have to assess realistically the risks we face, and decide accordingly. I remember people saying we should not go to the moon because “we might destabilise the Earth on its orbit”.

      • Anne says:

        Never fly in a Plane eh? As my brother was one of A.V Roes design engineers, I too sure enjoyed and actually lived with “planes” for most of my early life.

  7. Richard111 says:

    Quite so, Jane. Man is creating a situation where mans very survival will be at risk.

  8. catalanbrian says:

    Mr Helmer. On the12th February 2015 there was a vote in the European Parliament to set up a special committee to investigate tax dodging. Presumably it is reasonable to assume that you support tax dodging. Perhaps you could comment on this and perhaps you could also comment on why you voted against this along with the fascist party, Golden Dawn. Is this because you and UKIP share their political views.

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      Brian, as one who wishes to be out of the EU, why should any legislation bolstering the EU’s political interference seem a good idea to them?

      When a person disagrees with socialist ideals on tax measures, you suggest that they support tax dodging? Its presumptuous to make such a claim!

      Perhaps any organisation that has never had its accounts signed off, are the wrong ones to be pressing for even more taxes?

      The Golden Dawn have some good ideas, I would love them to be able to declare the Greek debt as toxic, and let the bankers carry it. Iceland would be struggling like Ireland had it not done so.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      The “Taxes in Europe” database (TEDB) is the European Commission’s on-line information tool covering the main taxes in force in the EU Member States.

      About 600 of them. WTF! I wouldn’t vote for that sh*t either. Its not their business because its nation state business.

      EU Accounts…LOL. It isn’t funny though..

  9. Katie says:

    All we hear about on the news lately is the increases in certain diseases like dementia but with no reason behind it. I wonder how much is down to what we eat today?? There has to be a reason and I don’t believe it has anything to do with age. Dementia seems to start to affect people around the age of 55 so nothing to do with old age! Drinking water in Scotland is being heavily contaminated with cancer causing chemicals especially around sites of disturbance from things like wind farm erection. This is not being monitored properly. How many other diseases can food and water be causing? I am sure it is not all down to what we breathe in.

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      Katie, we must have things to be scared of so Government can bring in measures to protect us! Just ignore it, half of these people don’t know their ass from their elbow. Keep of as much medication as possible, eight months ago I thought I was heading for a wheel chair. Unable to get out of a bath, put my socks on, climb stairs, and in pain. I read the leaflet on Statins and kicked them after 10 years. I’m very fortunate and made a good recovery, others are not always so lucky.

      • Katie says:

        Hi, my husband was also very ill after being prescribed statins. I told him not to take them anymore because I thought his quality of life was being affected badly. He has stopped and most of the symptoms went. some have remained but in a less aggressive form.

        I have since read that certain chemicals are being sprayed into the air and these have the effect of causing things like dementia and other illnesses which seem to be on the rise. I have copied the main parts of the email below.

        Flouride was added to drinking water in Auschwitz and other concentration camps to keep the prisoners docile, and accepting of authority and their fate.

        For many of us, flouride has been arbitrarily added to our drinking water for years, and aluminium used in water ‘purification’.

        Flouride is, I understand, added to atmospheric spraying ingredients to reduce coagulation.

        Aluminium is a major ingredient for atmospheric spraying. Aluminium is well documented to be involved in Alzheimers, dementia, arterial plaques, heart and respiratory problems etc.

        When fluoride and aluminium combine, their synergistic toxicity increases dramatically – up to 10,000%. This may explain the recent dramatic increase in alzheimers, dementia, autism, respiratory and cardiac problems.

        Flouride helps aluminium cross the blood-brain barrier.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsDKP9rXLkg Watch to the very end.

        Aluminium and glyphosate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a52vAx9HaCI

        Further scientific information attached.

        2. Informative and easy to understand video showing the global weather situation as at Aug 2014.

        Does not discuss the causes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9PshoYtoxo

        3. Unusual weather for Jan 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spNSFuEeIQ8#t=502

        Strange noises from the sky? Thanks to atmospheric spraying, we now live in a world of temperature inversions, starting at around 1,000ft above ground level.

        Audible noise, and particularly Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise (ILFN, 0 – 20 Hz frequency), can bounce off temperature inversions. ILFN from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can bounce around earth 2 or more times.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Butter is suddenly off the “mustn’t eat” looney list. So its onto the cows now because they are big methane generators and such a threat. BBC R4 this morning on about bacteria in the soil that munches O2 out of methane and releases CO2 or some such sh*t? Thats within the their daily broadcast of the Global Warming/Climate Change journo rattle.

      Anyway, they want to farm it or something but can’t isolate the bacteria so identified. Found the sub bacteria though?


  10. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Here’s a con – CarbonFree Sugar (not misspelt)


    Would you buy that if it had no carbon in it?

  11. Anne says:

    On 21/3/2000, the Minister of Health was asked, by J. Gormley (Green Party), if, “chromium is present in hydrofluoslicic acid, the fluoridating agent imported from Holland used to facilitate fluoridation of drinking water?” Minister Martin replied that the acid fluoride “does not contain chromium”.
    FFW obtained a sample of this acid fluoride and had it chemically analysed at an independent laboratory in Dublin. This analysis confirmed our greatest fears, chromium is present and at similar levels as the arsenic also present. Minister Martin misled the Dail and the Irish people. This is misinformation at best or even fraudulent if Minister Martin is aware of the contaminants of this hazardous waste product of the fertiliser industry.
    CAL Limited,
    95 Merrion Square,
    Dublin 2, Ireland.
    Tel: 353 1 661 3033
    Fax: 353 1 661 3399
    Lab No. 23034
    Sample Description: Hydrofluosilicic Acid
    Date Reported: 14/08/2000
    Calcium 51ppm
    Magnesium 23.9ppm
    Sodium 33.6ppm
    Potassium 6.2ppm
    Aluminium 2.1ppm
    Boron 14ppb
    Manganese 571ppb
    Copper 90ppb
    Zinc 523ppb
    Phosphorus 26187ppm
    Barium 168ppb
    Iron 11.85ppm
    Sulphur 134.9ppm
    Arsenic 4826ppb
    Cadmium 4ppb
    Chromium 3763ppb
    Mercury 5ppb
    Nickel 1742ppb
    Lead 15ppb
    Selenium 2401ppb
    Thallium <2ppb
    Antimony 14ppb
    Tin 4ppb
    Cobalt 56ppb
    Strontium 88ppb
    Molybdenum 490ppb
    Beryllium <2ppb
    Vanadium 87ppb
    According to the Irish Medicines Board, this hydrofluosilicic acid has never been proven safe or effective and not surprisingly is unregistered, unlicensed and not considered a medicine. So, what is it and why is it untested? Why are we drinking unmeasured, uncontrolled levels of this toxic cocktail without the freedom to make an informed choice?

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