Thursday, 24 January 2013

What shall we do with some old leather?

As parts of the country capitulated to actual winter, at least the story of pig and horse DNA in cheap ‘beef’ burgers showed some stiff upper lip by refusing to die away.

‘Drind?’ you say. ‘What on Earth is that?’

Well, it’s actually ‘dehydrated rind’, which is apparently added to some processed products and doesn’t need to labeled as anything more than ‘seasoning’.

Now, I could be wrong (it is possible), but I don’t think that I’m the most naive food-minded person going, yet learning this managed to make my jaw spiral into a Tom Daleyesque dive straight to the deck.

Never mind my expression, it’s hard to imagine that on the face of whomsoever came up with this little wheeze, with a view to the public never actually getting wind of it.

After all, if you wanted to be open about what you were adding, you wouldn’t hide behind ‘seasoning’, now would you?

I mean – come on: ‘seasoning’ is salt and bleedin’ pepper, isn’t it? That is what people expect and understand even when they actually look at food packaging in detail.

Yet some people’s food appears to have been ‘seasoned’ with what amounts to being ground-up leather.

There are an increasing number of people out there in increasing need. The numbers of food banks in the UK are going through the roof.

And we have leather, ground up and put in ‘economy’ food as a ‘seasoning’.

Now I’m no fan of conspiracy theories – I much prefer Occam’s Razor, whereby you take the simplest explanation.

But you don’t create drind – which requires a process (or two) – and then put it into a meat product all by accident and for no reason.

The reason, of course, is quite simple: it’s about profit – and more profit.

She obviously hasn’t sat next to Eric Pickles at a Cabinet meeting, then, and shared any of the golden Garibaldis funded by his departmental £40,000 annual biscuit budget.

At the time, she was addressing the very industry that puts drind into food – and calls it ‘seasoning’.

It’s the same industry that puts more than 30% sugar in breakfast cereals that are aimed and marketed directly at children.

It is the same industry that is in bed with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US. And remember: it's a global and globalised industry, so national boundaries mean little.

It is the same industry that, through it’s partnership with the UK government, is receiving free advertising in the guise of health advice by the government, funded by the taxpayer.

It is the same industry that is now also in bed, in the form of assorted corporate “partners”, with the British Heart Foundation, which is why you will see adverts linking the BHF (and therefore, heart health) with Flora margarine, which is manufactured by Unilever.

But then again, the BHF, as part of a healthy diet, also promotes plenty of artificial, processed foods over natural ones – even when there’s sugar added.

Which is, of course, entirely in keeping with the aims of the sort of multinationals precisely like Unilever, which make substantial amounts of money from highly processed food.

So it’s a rather simple question: just who can you trust on food?

Well the simplest answer is, if you have the option available to you, buy fresh foods, from independent traders.

And avoid processed food as much as possible.

That way, you won’t need to worry that your food is ‘seasoned’ with ground up old boots.

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