Mooching round the supermarket I checked on the "organic" meat (from Austria), the "organic" beans (from Kenya), onions (from Spain) and just wondered. My understanding was that organic produce, as well as being grown/reared free from additives/antiobiotics, should also relatively local to home so as to avoid the pollutants involved in being chilled/air-freighted/transported etc etc
So how can a supermarket sell meat from Austria as "organic" doesn't seem to make sense to me .. am I off track here?
From my experience the Organic Food concept is one of the biggest cons being worked on the consumer.
When it came out at first I looked at it in the large local supermarket I use. Instead of the nice clean potatoes I prefer there were these dirty, wrinkly spuds with eyes and other imperfections. The same applied to other products under the Organic banner. To make matters worse all were dearer than their normal equivalent! I made a value judgement to ignore the foodie faddies as I usually do and stuck with the normal products I have always bought, instead of going Organic and paying more for dirty and mishapen food.
I also like the modern ability to be able to obtain foods without being a slave to the seasons. From the supermarket I can purchase the foods I like all year round thanks to modern transportation and refrigeration techniques. With Organic products grown locally, if its out of season in the UK, tough luck!
Finally, these technological advances have made a far wider range of foodstuffs available at a low price to the ordinary working man or woman. To my mind the Organic Food Concept is another Middle Class fantasy and if they wish to pay more for it, good luck! Im sticking to the ordinary food, clean, conveniently packaged, of consistant size, quality and appearance and stuff the Organic products!
Each to his own, TG. I have no problem with people preferring the non-organic.
My preference is the other way. I find that organically-grown produce has more taste, and at least I know it is free of artificial pesticides, extra jellyfish chromosomes, chemicals and antibiotics. I am also prepared to pay that bit extra for it.
What I do object to is in not having any choice in the matter. Where I'm living now there is a little supermarket that stock fifteen different varieties of tinned spaghetti in tomato sauce, but no tinned spinach. They have god knows how many different kinds of tuna, but no herring roes. Seven or eight kinds of apples, but none organically grown, and no pineapples. Yes, they're small, but they seem to have no imagination whatsoever about what to include in their stock list.
About 10 miles away is a Waitrose with a much larger selection, but that entails a car journey. A local fruiterer/greengrocer shop closed not long ago, bought (I understand) by Tesco, who are shortly to erect a supermarket here. In the meantime, decent fresh fruit and vegetables are very hard to find.
The muchly-trumpeted "consumer choice" is supposed to decide what we want - after all, if we don't want it, the shops wouldn't stock it - would they? In my more cynical moments, I feel that big business actually decides what they want us to have.
Yes Huggy, whilst Im happy to eat processed and GM foods etc, I certainly agree that "The Customer wants WHAT THE CUSTOMER GETS!" is the motto of the food industry. Many years ago I worked for Sunblest and saw this to be the case.
Any luck on the employment front yet? All the best.
Properly, it should be a case of Organic foods at a decent price in the majority with a small section for non-organics (grown, raised with chemicals in 50kg bags and/or in cages/factories and suspected to cause cancers over long periods of exposure).It's hard to argue against the benefits of natural.
Quite a long time ago, when this Organic thingy came to the surface in a big way I read an article by a professor involved in food, public health etc and he said, words to the effect,
"By eating organic food you are exposing your body to all the bacteria, fungi, microbes etc. that would have otherwise been killed off by spraying etc. The human body does not have any protection against this, initially, so eating organic can, in fact, be very unhealthy indeed, far more so than any side effects from the chemicals normally used in food production"
Surley the body would be better equipped to cope with natural bacteria etc than chemicals (or has the body lost its tolerance in this "sanitised" society) Anyway the costs of these chemicals must be large, by going organic it should be cheaper, despite lower yields, that goes for pick your own strawberries, lazy farmers! <img src="confused.gif" border="0">
In my pre-flying life I was in farming, then in supermarket retailing, and two truths stand out.
Firstly that in those days there was no strict definition of "organic" foods, maybe there is now; but it was often used as a word to flog crappy produce, or over-price things. Fact is without pesticides not many crops can yield much, the pests get fat on munching it and then everyone else nearby has the problem of more pests attsacking the "normal" crops. A bit like those people who refuse to vaccinate their babies.
Second, supermarkets large and small cater to customer demand. If something ain't shifting off the shelf, then you don't order any more. If umpteen different kinds of tinned spagetti fly off the shelf, you order more! Fact is organic veggies can look pretty awful, even under the clever lighting, and presentation is 9/10 of the sale.
By the very nature of "organic" (s******) farming, the product can't be mass-produced, so by keeping it a bit exclusive the foodies who buy it get to feel special, and the retailers and farmers can charge more for it!
[quote]It's hard to argue against the benefits of natural.<hr></blockquote>"Natural" is spending 15 hours a day shoveling ***** on a scrap of land and being dead before your thirtieth birthday. People have this bizarre notion that pre-industrial life was some kind of pastoral dreamland when the reality was people working like slaves, suffering horribly and dying young. Fertilizers, pesticides, machinery and new crops were invented for a reason- because people didn't want crappy lives. It's interesting to note that those who advocate "natural" farming and a ban on genetic engineering are all well-fed inhabitants of the west. Nearly all the farming in Africa is "natural"- fat load of good it does them.
I posted in TG's 'food faddies' thread that as a young lad we ate organic food. I know it was organic because we grew most of it ourselves, from rabbits to tomatoes. Nothing was wasted, yellow outer cabbage leaves and such like went on the compost heap, along with horse manure (from the street) and straw. The tomatoes were fertilized with sheep's blood direct from the slaughter house. Small pests were kept at bay with soapy water and bigger ones were simply picked off and stomped on. It took a lot of time and effort running an allotment - digging for victory was back breaking work and it went on until around 1960, at least in my part of the world it did. The reason the food tasted so good was because it was same day fresh, but you had to eat it quickly because it went rotten in no time if you tried keeping it. As for preservatives we made our own pickled onions, pickled cabbage and pickled beetroot. Then, once sugar rationing ended, there was gooseberry jam.
Never mind the organic food fantasy, there's hardly anyone who lived like that who doesn't prefer popping down to ASDA for a nice load of genetically modified off-season grub, loaded with preservatives. "Yummy, yummy, strawberries in January, whoever would have thought that!" as Gran once said before she left us. Of course Gran washed all her veggies before she cooked them, even before all those horrid pesticides. You wouldn't want to get a bit of horse poo stuck between your teeth, now would you?
**********************************. .Through difficulties to the cinema
O yaas indeed. ( thoughtfully removes pice of straw from mouth and reflectively scratches bum). Brings up the taters lerverly blood does. We use gallons of it all over everythin we do. Stinks a bit wot with that and the cow and pig manoor, but it don alf bring em up nice now.
Indeed Mr Blachsheep, Draper grows his own salad stuff and a few vegies himself, well some of them anyway.. .People have forgoten what fresh stuff tastes like.. .As you say even town folk kept rabbits and some of them the odd pig, and cultivated allotments right up to the mid fifties, in the N/E at least.. .Stuff from the supermarket certainly looks better and it is seldom necessary to wash the clarts from veggiest bought thus, but it is devoid of taste.. .Draper has a theory that the apparent weediness and the suseptibility to various ills of folk born since the sixties, is due to the fact that they have not ingested the required amount of honest muck in their chilhood that mother nature intended. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
You have a point there TD. Now I may well be an example of this. Born in 1953 I have progressively eaten more and more processed foods over the years. Now I actually happen to LIKE the stuff, so no problem. What is interesting is that my guts react strongly to many of the "natural foods" and I spend a lot of time on the "porcelain motorbike" if I eat them. Again I am lucky in that I dont like cabbage, sprouts, spinnach etc, nor many fruits, so I just dont eat them. Any deficiency I make up by taking some vitamin pills and I do imbibe lots of soft drinks with added Vitamin C. Now as I dont have bleeding gums, lose teeth, brittle bones, a nasty skin condition, Im not losing my hair nor going blind, so in what I eat, processed as it may be, I must receive a sufficient intake of vitamins and trace elements.
As I have said before, enjoy life, what you eat, what you drink, whether you are active or sedentary. The only people I detest are those who interfere and try to inflict their lifestyle be it in politics, religion, diet, exercise on me.
Mr. Diamond and I have an average sized garden which contains - amongst other things - one peach tree, one apricot tree, one tangelo tree (cross between mandarin orange and grapefruit), one nashi tree, one mandarin tree and a grape vine (Flame, red seedless). Currently we also have a thriving crop of tomatoes.
There was one memorable year when we elected not to spray for pests and we had not one single piece of fruit that remained unattacked by fruit fly or a tiny, revolting black beetle-looking thing that tunnelled into the fruit.
Instead of weeks of enjoying the best tasting fruit in the history of the universe, we got jack ****.
I would rather adopt the correct spraying programme and wash the fruit well before eating rather than have that disappointment again. There is absolutely nothing to compare with fruit ripened on the tree and picked just before eating but with all the good will in the world, organic pest and disease treatments just don't seem to produce the goods.
I believe the only way to produce good quality fruit and vegies using organic methods is to grow them in a sealed, sterile environment and the cost of such an enterprise would be prohibitive.
Wanders off to kitchen in search of non-organic cup of coffee with commercially produced sugar and milk from the carton.