There’s a lot to be said for keeping it local. Now more than ever, as it was found yesterday that horse meat containing a banned vetinary drug had entered the food chain from Britain.
“Six contaminated carcasses were shipped from Britain to France”
Traces of the substance phenylbutazone or bute, an anti-inflammatory drug were found, but it is not harmful in small doses. Six contaminated carcasses were shipped from Britain to France, and half had already been processed and is on its way to supermarkets. After previous scandals with our meat, such as the mad-cow and foot-and-mouth disease, it’s a wonder our neigh-bours across the sea still accept our exports.
In France the meat was much less common and considered working-class fare. Now though, it seems they want to see what all the fuss is about. French equine butchers have seen a 15% rise in profits – they still enjoy eating horses for courses but they want it drug-free. Here there has been curiosity about it too, Findus beef “100% horse” lasagne was being sold for £70 on E-bay before sellers were reigned-in.
Although we have shouted about it til we’re horse, many people have already consumed vetinary drugs recreationally – ketamine (K), a tranquiliser causing incontinence, remains popular with 200 000 using it last year, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales. I once saw someone hallucinating with it, hiding under a table, in another world. Perhaps this scandal will affect its popularity.
We already knew ready-meals were bad for us, being high in sugar and salt, but maybe more people will cook from scratch now. I was not caught up in the hype – you never really know whether suppliers have horsed around with your bolog-neihse when when you eat processed food anyway. I was not surprised that products were beefed up. Then we discovered we’d really been an ass buying cheap meat as donkey was found. Animal DNA kit manufacturers must be ass-tounded by the sales increases.
An upshot of this is that people are supporting their local shops more – The National Federation of Meat and Food Traders reported a 15% increase in sales at independent butchers, as people turn to sources they can trust.
When I went to my local farm event this week most of the shoppers were interested in the meat, 100% from animals who roam free (less fat).
Reasons to support your local butchers and greengrocers:
1. It may be slightly more expensive, but you get what you pay for – food which is generally tasty, wholesome and organic. My friend and I found that prices were about the same as supermarket organic food, and some products were actually cheaper.
2. Small shops have a vested interest in providing quality products – they need the business, unlike supermarkets who need to get rid of a certain quota. There will always be enough customers for supermarkets, whereas independent stores have to work harder to keep their patrons.
3. By buying local, you’re supporting your community – the farmers, shop owners, and the local customers who rely on the convenience and quality just as you do. The profits go back into your area.
A friend gets a weekly vegetable box delivered which is filled by nearby farms. The products are full of flavour, ready-to-eat and a good size.
I have got into cooking recently and the extra time spent making meals from scratch is well worth it. Using fresh ingredients makes a healthier and tastier meal. Jamie Oliver recommends organic produce but recent studies indicate this is no more healthy or environmentally-friendly than standard varieties. They do taste better though, and you often get more for your money. His Ministry of Food book is inspiring in getting beginners to have a go. It’s easily accessible and he has made an effort to use simple, cheaper ingredients. I would recommend using truffle oil as a treat sometimes though – it adds a rich flavour.