Morfruit, Congleton - Christmas Pudding

Local Fiona Bruce MP and Congleton business, Morfruit, save 2016 Christmas puddings for the nation!

After local businessman Simon Brown, MD of Morfruit, went to see Fiona Bruce MP at one of her regular local surgeries, the MP realised how serious his concerns were. Unless urgent and high level action was taken at the top of Government to change an EU regulation, many jobs would be lost at the long established Congleton business and possibly it could close altogether.
The EU regulation banned grapes sprayed with a particular pesticide – chlorpyrifos - which, whilst not harmful, was to be banned from grapes used in food production after August 2016. However, inadvertently the wording of the EU regulation meant that it included raisins harvested in 2015 or earlier. Raisins are produced from grapes and can be kept for two years after harvesting and are a staple ingredient in Christmas Puddings, mince pies, breakfast cereals and a host of other products made by Morfruit – and another local manufacturer, Mornflake. The raisins to be used in this year’s Christmas Puddings etc would all have been treated with the banned pesticide, having been harvested in 2015 – these raisins having come mainly from Turkey – and no other raisins would be available if they were not allowed to be used.
Fiona Bruce saidThis regulation meant that over 90% of all Christmas Puddings would not be available for sale in the UK for Christmas 2016 plus a host of other products. With the risk to many jobs at Morfruit I realised this regulation has to be changed – and urgently.”
Fiona Bruce spoke with the then Farming Minister George Eustace and arranged a meeting with him in Westminster with Simon Brown of Morfruit and a representative from Mornflake. The importance and urgency of the situation was clearly explained and the potential impact on millions of food items in the run up to Christmas 2016.
As a result DEFRA have now released a formal statement allowing the use of the sultanas and raisins from Turkey that may otherwise have been wasted. The UK Government have created a solution which allows production of goods with dried fruit from Turkey for the rest of the season, whereas the EU countries were unable to agree on a solution for allowable levels of chlorpyrifos in dried fruit to tackle their own regulatory oversight.

Simon Brown, Managing Director of Morfruit saidOur company was under extreme pressure from pending EU food legislation, perhaps as much as closure. Fiona’s help in creating a channel to DEFRA enabled us to discuss a sensible transitional solution which allowed my company to continue to supply our customers. Without this intervention, I doubt we would have survived and there would have been an enormous gap in supermarkets of many Christmas foodstuffs this year”
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