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Asparagus recipe accidentally published in royal decree of Belgian law (yes, really)

16:43 31/05/2021

What is the most boring reading on the face of the planet? If you said the royal decree of laws governing Belgium – otherwise known as the Moniteur Belge – you would be right. Take it from us journalists who occasionally find ourselves forced to locate a single detail in its endless sections, paragraphs and additions, you would rather poke your eye with a sharp stick than attempt to wade through any part of  it.

So imagine the delight of lawyer Morgan Moller when he, perusing Book V of the Code of Economic Law, discovered a recipe for asparagus gratin. We are not making this up.

Moller was reviewing article 13 of the section on pricing for drugs and medical devices, which had been adapted last month. Paragraph nine in the French-language version was interrupted by the recipe, which laid out six easy steps to making the seasonal dish. “Bon appétit” read the sixth step.

Moller took to Twitter immediately, of course. “I have had it with people who say that the Moniteur Belge is useless,” he wrote. “You can find everything in there: laws, determinations, recipes, you name it.”

Asparagus recipe

The recipe has since been deleted from the otherwise mind-numbing regulations on ‘the deadlines and practical modalities for requests for price determination, price increases, price notifications and price reports of medicines, objects, devices and substances associated with medicines’.

But not before Moller posted a screenshot to Twitter. He finished his tweet with the completely unnecessary: “Seriously, in my legal career, I have not often seen this level of hilarity.”

Clearly a copy-paste error occurred, which amused many a lawyer late last week. But it also concerned some of them. “It’s absolutely astonishing and one has to wonder just a little how such a huge error actually got saved on this official site,” criminal lawyer Fabrice Guttadauria told RTL. “It’s a royal decree accessible to everyone.”

Yes, the director of Moniteur Belge was forced to talk to the press. “Technically,” he said, the online version “is not the official publication of the law; it is a consolidated database, with no legal basis.” The official Moniteur, he assures us, is proofread and approved.

It’s just a good thing that the recipe didn’t sneak into the official version of the Moniteur, he noted. “Because that, we cannot correct. We would have had to publish an erratum.”

 Photo (c)Morgan Moller/Twitter 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw


Andrew van Veen

Dear sirs, as a lawyer myself, I do focus on the "fine print", Would you be so kind as to reprint the recipe in a legible format? It is of course high season for asparagus.

Jun 1, 2021 09:50

Done! (see above)

Jun 1, 2021 10:47
Andrew van Veen

Thank you madam. you are too kind.

Jun 1, 2021 11:12