With the usual middle market tabloids running around like headless chickens over Bird Flu again, Govenment Agencies trying to cover their collective backsides and both looking for someone to point the Blamethrower at…looks like the Hungarians at the moment the real story here is I think is a little different. It seems that as usual everyone is looking at the symptoms rather than the cause of this outbreak and they seem to have looking in the wrong direction for those too.
Wild birds don’t appear to the vector in this instance and probably weren’t the last time either; the problem is the way we intensively farm animals and transport them around before and after they have been processed. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not some bleeding heart liberal veggie muncher who wants to free every animal bred for food in the UK, I just think we ought to be a bit more conscientious, considerate and respectful to these animals if we’re going to eat them. Raising them on huge factory farms as if they are simply a meat commodity to be processed, reshaped and shrink wrapped is too invite the kind of problems we’ve seen in the past week.
If nothing else it should get a few more of us thinking about not only where our food comes from, turkeys raised and processed in another country should not be allowed to foisted on us as British just because it was covered in breadcrumbs and packaged here, but also how it was raised and how it was turned into the neatly plastic covered foodstuff you see in front of you.
Two food related items although not related as you’ll see, show all is not quite right in the world of ‘food’.
First up…HP Sauce. I’ve always loved the stuff, on bacon butties, chips, sarnies of any description or as a condiment with an FEB. The logo of the Palace of Westminster, the packaging all pointed at something quintessentially British but sadly not anymore. In 2005 Heinz purchased HP foods from Danone (yes those of Bio Yogurt fame) and decided in the middle of this year to move production to Holland. It’s a double tragedy as 125 people will lose their jobs as the Aston Factory closes and Heinz still want to use the imagery of the Houses of Parliament. So they want to make out it’s full on British, especially as they’d just announced campaign to “Save the British Cafe” at the same time, but can’t be arsed to make it here.
Secondly Prawns. What kind of mixed up mad world must we be in when it’s more cost effective to catch said prawns off the British Coast, ship them to Thailand for peeling and then bring them back to the UK. From what I can find further processing like bagging etc is done when the deshelled crustaceans clear UK Customs. “The facility in Thailand has a long history in seafood processing and can undertake hand de-shelling for us to a very high standard” says Mike Mitchell, who wait for it…is Director of Scampi, no kidding. So the ladies and gentlemen at your Annan plant don’t Mr Mitchell? So remember the next time you tuck into a few prawns from Youngs it’s probably better travelled that you are.