Butcher removes carcases from display after complaints

According to the Daily Telegraph a butcher’s shop has removed the carcases from its display after complaints by the squeamish.

Surely if you eat meat you should accept where it came from. Otherwise it seems rather hypocritical to me. If you’re upset by a whole carcass, why not just a leg?

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Christmas stuffing

RFB

No it’s not a recipe, it’s just me being exasperated by the enormous gap between the best and worse Christmas experiences in the UK.

I am so fed up with those supermarket Christmas ads featuring tables groaning with food. It’s odd that they remind me of a Rennie (indigestion remedy) Christmas advert a few years ago which made me feel quite ill. I’m sure my visit to Waitrose to pick up my goose on Christmas Eve, will be the usual shopping hell, with people buying like WW3 has been declared, ramming their trolleys into your Achilles tendons – this may have something to do with living in South East England, as a few years ago I spent Christmas in Fife and the Christmas Eve shoppers at Morrisons in St Andrews were actually very friendly.

Anyway it’s becoming quite obvious that many people in the UK aren’t in a position to go mad with their pre-Christmas shopping – they’ll be dining off of a Food Bank food parcel on the 25th. Even places as affluent a Richmond-upon-Thames (in south-west London) are seeing the increasing use of the local Food Bank.

I write this while the House of Commons debates the subject of food banks, I doubt it will make much difference, but at least it will provide more publicity about the growing problem of UK citizens not having enough cash to buy food.

Tesco blames customers for food waste

UNApparently customers are responsible for food waste, because when faced with a tray of apples they only pick the good looking ones (who wouldn’t?). But for some reason you don’t do this if you’re from Eastern Europe. I’m sorry, but I cannot believe that Polish customers seek out the worst apples in the tray!

If Tesco wants us to buy imperfect fruit and veg then they should recognise that it’s not perfect by discounting the price. Sainsburys do this quite a lot already and don’t have a problem getting customers to buy it.

Walmart asks workers to donate food to fellow employees for Thanksgiving

This article looks to me like the underpaid supporting their underpaid co-workers, while their employer does pretty well out of it.

How about Walmart doing the same thing?

This is just one more example of government (in this case by Food Stamps – see further down the article) subsidising capitalism. It happens in the UK with Tax Credits and Housing Benefits – often not paid for (in taxes) by the people who reap the benefits (global business and buy-to-let landlords). This must be unsustainable in the long-run!

The Moo Man

Film-vertLast night I saw this great film about four years in the life of a Pevensey Levels dairy farm. After the film there was a lively Q&A session with Phil, his Dad and Andy Heathcote (director).

Small dairy farming units are shutting down at an alarming rate, largely due to the ridiculously low prices paid for milk by processors. Supermarkets have lulled customers into believing that milk is a cheap product (but I suspect that they still make a reasonable profit per pint); and in the last few days there has been a call for more mega-farms to keep food prices down.

In this film Phil turns his family business around by finding new ways of selling his milk. He now only sells ‘raw milk’ (unpasteurised milk, and other products derived from it) direct to customers. By law (in England) unpasteurised milk can only be retailed by producers. Hook & Son came up with an innovative way to retail their milk at Selfridges: a vending machine was installed (they can legally sell their milk at Borough Market – so why can’t their robot sell it in Selfridges?). This led to Phil’s appearance in court, but the legal position is still not clarified due to the Food Standards Agency dropping the case. It seems the FSA didn’t want to lose, but in any case the rules about the sale of raw milk are now under review.

Phil said it’s completely illegal to sell raw milk in Scotland, although this doesn’t prevent customers north of the border buying from the on-line farm shop (just like Amazon, the sale takes place where the server is located!).

The film is beautifully shot, showing an idyllic landscape (when it’s not raining). But it’s not an easy life – Phil said he works at least 60 hours a week – “although it’s not a job, it’s way of life”.

Food intolerant fascists

I am definitely omnivorous. Generally, as well as food is decently cooked/prepared and tasty, I’m quite happy. I consume meat, dairy, eggs, gluten, whatever….  So I felt that this article was expressing my views for once, and I think my ‘fascist’ label is quite justified (see penultimate paragraph: “Disney Channel was forced to pull an episode of its children’s show Jessie that made fun of a child with a long list of dietary requests, after outraged complaints from parents of gluten-intolerant children.”).

I don’t doubt that Coeliacs need a gluten-free diet, but I remain dubious about the rest of us.

I particularly liked the quote: “They eat a huge bowl of pasta and experience lethargy, bloating, weight gain and decide they must have a food intolerance, but they’ve just eaten too much pasta.” I must say I always attributed feeling this to simply eating too much carbohydrate which always makes me feel sleepy anyway!

It’s also interesting that manufactured gluten-free products contain a lot of additives and increased amounts of fat, something of which an earlier group of food fascists were equally intolerant!

If course, if you don’t want to consume gluten you could avoid it by not buying processed food. But if you are buying gluten-free products you are increasing the profits of the global food manufacturers.

Domestic food waste reduced in last five years

WRAP

The huge amount of food wasted by UK households has hit the headlines once more.

This Guardian article concentrates on the sheer quantity of wasted food: “The average UK family is wasting nearly £60 a month by throwing away almost an entire meal a day”. This figure comes from a report by WRAP (the government’s waste advisory body, the Waste & Resources Action Programme).

What is surprising about the report is that it states: “that the amount of food and drink thrown away that could have been eaten fell by 21% between 2007 and 2012”. This sounds like a major improvement to me, although there’s still plenty of room for further savings!
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