Commentary

V4.218 Food of a kind used for human consumption

Part V4 Exemption, zero-rating and reduced rates

V4.218 Food of a kind used for human consumption

V4.218 Food of a kind used for human consumption

This paragraph examines the meaning of 'food of a kind used for human consumption' as set out in VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 1, Item 1.

For an overview of the scope of the zero-rating for food in VATA 1994, Sch 8, Group 1, see V4.217.

Broadly, food (which includes drink1) of a kind used for human consumption is zero-rated2 unless either:

  1.  

    •     it falls within one of the excepted items (and not one of the overrides to the exceptions) described in V4.219

  2.  

    •     it is supplied in the course of catering within the meaning described in V4.220

Meaning of food of a kind used for human consumption—food for human consumption (zero-rating)

Food as nourishment

In Hinde v Allmond3 'food' was interpreted in its primary sense as 'something taken into the system for nourishment'. Whilst in James v Jones4 the fact that articles are not made up into an eatable or drinkable form fit for immediate consumption was held not to prevent them from being food; thus, such articles as flour, butter, salt, mustard, pepper, etc are properly classed as food because, 'though nobody would ordinarily dream of eating them alone, yet they are articles intended to form substantial components of articles of food or to be eaten as adjuncts thereto'.

The Advocate General in X5 appeared to suggest an interpretation similar to food as nourishment in the context of Directive 2006/1112, Annex III (which refers to 'foodstuffs... for human and animal consumption').

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