So we have all seen the headlines – horse meat in Tesco’s burgers, now a trace of beef found in a Findus horse-meat Lasagne! It’s true that ‘pet’ horses can have Bute (an NSAID drug toxic to humans) in their system so there is an outline risk that this is a health scare, but in reality this whole issue is more of an emotional rather than a practical reaction. But let’s put that aside – people are concerned about a nice lean bit of horse in their dinner (the Mongolian’s I know would not object) but what they fail to see is the high levels of fat, salt, sugar and artificial preservatives in these meals. That, I would suggest the the real cause for concern and why people should think twice about living on ‘pierce and ping’ meals. Together this all shows two major failings in out current view of food:
1. We want it as cheap as possible, irrespective of quality and the impact on the producer.
2. We no longer know how to cook meals from their basic ingredients.
Never mind having a little bit of Red Rum in your dinner – think about where you source your food (all our meat comes from local butchers, who themselves source locally for example) and learn the pleasure of cooking. If I’m too busy to cook, I’m afraid what that is saying is that I am too busy to live the final five years of my life – what I save now, I’d lose later on if I have a diet high in salt / fat / sugar and low on quality.
And not only is a ready meal diet not likely to sustain me in the long term, our view of cheap food is not likely to sustain our farming industry either. It is clearly not sustainable to buy all our food from cheap economies and stop producing our own. In the same way that a 100% service economy was shown in 2008 not to be a good thing – we need both an industrial and agricultural base – they are key to the strategic future of any country.