Monday, September 21, 2009

British Meat For British Bellies

Tesco knows which side its bread is buttered. The supermarket giant is scrapping 'misleading' meat labelling but only after a nudge from the Tories Honest Food campaign. Every little helps in the battle of 'bad food Britain'.

The sham of mislabelled meat to dupe shoppers into thinking they're buying into the Great British brand leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

How can you trust something that's got a Union Flag plastered on it when the tiny print tells you it is only produced and packed in Britain, not British born and bred.

Labelling meals as "produced in Britain" when the meat has come from abroad is a shameful but entirely legal, dodgy practice.

Selling a chicken dinner "produced in the UK" with poor poultry from Thailand always stuck in the throat. The last thing confused consumers want is a chicken calling itself British because that's the last place the last 'substantial change' was made.

Now Tesco Town has promised to end 'misleading' labelling on its meat products, and declare where it comes from and where so-called 'meat' in ready meals, pizza, pie and sausages is reared.

Spelling out the country of origin comes after pressure from farming groups and the Tories Honest Food campaign.

Every little helps. The Orange Party liked the way the Tories took a few populist issues and worked them up into campaigns back in February. A bit local LibDem 'cracked pavements and dog shit' issues politics but hey, why not, if consumers get a bit of benefit.

Tesco reckoned its Dutch pork or Thai chicken was up to scratch, with animal welfare standards just as high as UK farms. That's not the point. If you put something in your mouth you have a right to know where it's been.

Besides, as the Telegraph points out, evidence submitted to foodie MPs suggested two thirds of all pork imports into the UK, "has not been reared to UK statutory welfare standards and would be illegal if produced in this country".

Politicians occasionally fall over themselves to get a slice of the bacon and bang the drum for Britain. But getting them to do something about bad food Britain and the ravaged farming and fishing industries is a different kettle of fish.

Farmers are bogged down by Brussels red tape, a supermarket stranglehold on prices, a government which doesn't give a fig about the industry and competition from imported crap food dressed up and processed by slave labour in the food processing camps. All served up and forced down the nation's throats to make them fat.

The New Labour sandwich of all style and no substance has been around long before Joanna Blythmam launched her gastronomic polemic and showed how a nation has ruined its appetite in Bad Food Britain.

Tories spotted a gap in the market, outflanking a wishy-washy government. The cute video released to coincide with the Honest Food campaign was a little gem.

All supermarkets have a confusing mix of meat labelling. Consumers have a right to clear, accurate information about where their food comes from. Cheap food is one thing but cheap tricks quite another.

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