Gift of Grouse chef told to refrain from calling red grouse “organic”

Following earlier blogs where we challenged Gift of Grouse chef Andrew Fairlie’s claim that red grouse are “organic” (see here and here), the Foods Standards Officer at Perth & Kinross Council has completed an investigation. Here are the findings:

You are alleging that Mr Fairlie makes a fraudulent claim about organic status of red grouse being sold at the Mitchelin-starred Andrew Fairlie Restaurant based at Gleneagles Restaurant, Auchterarder.

The provided link to the ‘Gift of Grouse’ web based article contains a quote from Mr Fairlie, which includes the following wording: “In the summer our customers come from all over the world and they want to eat the finest local food. Customers like it because it’s organic, sustainable and its provenance is exact.”

Having checked the restaurant’s available advertising materials, including menus and compliance history I am satisfied that Mr Andrew Fairlie doesn’t make any direct claim that the red grouse or any other food he serves in his restaurant is organic or made from organic ingredients.

I have brought the matter to Mr Fairlie’s attention and received assurance that using ‘organic’ for the purposes of the quoted article was merely reflecting the drive to use natural and locally sourced foods.

I advised Mr Fairlie to refrain from using ‘organic’ as a descriptor of food unless the food complies with the prescribed legal requirements. I intend to monitor the situation in future to ensure that no unauthorised claims are made“.

Glad that’s cleared up then. When Gift of Grouse chef Andrew Fairlie of the Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie Restaurant at Gleneagles Hotel claims that a food product is organic, when it obviously isn’t, you can be sure he’s not trying to mislead customers, abuse public trust or make a false representation – he’s ‘merely reflecting the drive to use natural and locally sourced foods’.

Genuinely certified organic producers will be thrilled!

Interestingly, the false statement that red grouse are “organic” has not been removed from the Gift of Grouse website. Hardly a surprise – it sits well amongst all the other “risible, make-believe tosh” generated by the grouse-shooting industry’s inept propaganda machine.

Original photo of red grouse by Jim Wood


11 Responses to “Gift of Grouse chef told to refrain from calling red grouse “organic””

  1. July 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I notice on the Gift of Grouse website that Mark Greenaway said: “Grouse is a rich meat that owes its flavour to the heather that the birds graze on. It is one of the last remaining truly wild meats that we eat.” You might wnat to think about putting him right on the second sentence!

  2. 2 Pete Hoffmann
    July 7, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Legally grouse as other game birds before release are farm stock…after release they are considered wild.
    Partly to avoid insurance claims against the estates from vehicles etc that are damaged by hitting bird.
    But it also means you are free to run them over without recourse to law by the shoot.
    Also dogs are not allowed to be shot if they chase the birds…but if they get into an unsecured pen and there are fatalities among the poult…that then is an offence as the birds then belong….
    Of course they aren’t wild….bloody things!
    (I have a few pet pheasants and partridges in my garden that I bribe to stick around for their own safety……they are very pretty)

    • 3 Secret Squirrel
      July 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      You can shoot them if they come onto your land, much to the annoyance of at least one shoot owner I am aware of, whose birds regularly used to end up on my grandfather’s table.

      • 4 lizzybusy
        July 7, 2017 at 9:17 pm

        No you can’t just shoot bird’s which come on your land.

        Part 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act provides blanket protect to all wild birds, their nests and eggs, even species widely regarded as pests.

        Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, S1 Protection of wild birds, their nests and eggs.
        S1 “Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person intentionally—

        (a) kills, injures or takes (captures) any wild bird
        (aa)takes, damages or destroys the nest of a wild bird included in Schedule ZA1;]
        (b)takes, damages or destroys the nest of any wild bird while that nest is in use or being built; or
        (c)takes or destroys an egg of any wild bird,
        he shall be guilty of an offence.”

        Some birds are provided with extra protection in terms of penalties. Schedule 1 is a list of wild birds that receive an additional level of protection when they are nesting.

        SCHEDULE 1

        Species listed on Schedule 1, Part I are given special protection all year round.

        Those species listed in Schedule 1, Part II of the 1981 Act are afforded special protection when the official killing season is closed because they are very rare breeding birds. However, when the killing season is open they are only provided the same level of protection as other wild birds.

        Whilst S1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, in theory, provides protection to all wild birds, there are ways in which people can legally kill or capture wild birds.

        Schedule 2 Part 1 (also commonly known as ‘quarry’ species) lists species of birds that can be hunted in the open season (with the permission of the landowner) and anyone wishing to kill them does not need to use, or apply for, a licence to kill them, because these species are numerous in winter with large numbers migrating to winter in the UK.

        SCHEDULE 2
        Birds which may be Killed or Taken

        A person or organisation wishing to kill any other bird (or protected mammal) can only do so if all legal, non-lethal methods of resolving the problem are ineffective or impracticable and they have first obtained a Wildlife Management Licence. Wildlife Management Licences permit the killing of named species of birds or mammals for specific purposes. The methods of killing and other terms and conditions under which a licence is granted are set out in the licence.

        There are three classes of licence:


    • July 7, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Sorry, Pete, but they are wild. Red Grouse are an integral part of our avifauna. They are not bred in cages for release like pheasants.

  3. 6 Stephen Brown
    July 7, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I have tried to send a message to the Gift of Grouse website via their online contact but it won’t send – I get an error message. Have they disabled this function?

  4. July 7, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    How sisckening and ironic to see a beautiful winter ‘plumaged’ Mountain Hare amongst the Heading photographs on the Gift of Grouse website. If only their visitors knew! Oh, they do.

  5. July 7, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    ‘Emotionally true’ then.

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