Mr Geoffrey Martin
The European Commission
8 Story's Gate
London SW1P 3AT
30 January 2001
Dear Mr Martin
I refer to your letter sent to me since I notified you that Bombay Duck is once again available in Britain, following your four-year ban.
In your letter you claim that you have "... achieved a situation where consumers can purchase an imported food product with reasonable assurance of good food safety standards,... a compelling vindication of the EU's action".
I am astonished at the complacency of this claim. You banned a self-acknowledged safe food by imposing impossible conditions on the producers - peasant fishermen in northwest India. Then you claimed that there was no ban, in fact your web site still asserts that Bombay Duck has to be produced in an "approved processing plant". You refused to admit that your action was in complete contravention of the WHO Sanitary and Phytosanitory Agreement.
Now, thanks to the intervention of the Indian High Commission, you agreed to allow Bombay Duck to be produced in the normal way, dried in the sunshine, but then packed in an "approved processing plant". This makes all the difference and did allow exports to be resumed.
Far from being a compelling vindication of the EU's action, it demonstrates the folly of having laws made in Brussels based on abject ignorance and also the implacable resistance of your bureaucrats against taking corrective action.