It’s an interesting question isn’t it? Surely all you have to do is look at the label or ask the expert behind the counter, after all it’s our food, the very thing we put in our bodies every day. Well obviously not, as was proved when I visited a supermarket recently and asked the prepubescent teenager masquerading as a butcher wether they had any aged beef, his shocked and immediate answer was “no sir, its all fresh”

Now for the labeling, in NZ we’re covered by the toothless cretins at FSANZ (food standards Australia and New Zealand) who seem to be of the opinion that a food producer can put anything they want on their labels regardless of truth or proof. If anyone has the audacity to challenge a label these protectors of our food standards simply ask the manufacture to provide internal research with no independent corroboration. Recently the behemoth of frankenstein science, Monsanto, tried to introduce a new soy seed that FSANZ just accepted on Monsanto’s research whereas India demanded independent testing which lead to them dumping the project and losing millions of dollars of research in preference to actual scientific verification. When will we learn!!

Isn’t it just right and fair that we know where are food is from and what it contains or do we just allow the corporate thieves to keep making extreme profits from misleading us all?

The deliberately cloudy area of Genetic Modification is yet another classic, the FSANZ laws leave consumers in the dark by allowing a number of GE ingredients to be included in our food without any label:

  • Refined ingredients such as oils, cornstarch, soy lecithin and sugars that have been highly processed don’t require labeling
  • Any food prepared at the point of sale such as fresh baked bread, takeaways and other fast foods don’t require labeling.
  • Dairy, meat, eggs, fish, honey and other foods from animals raised on a diet of GE animal feed don’t require labeling.
  • Processing aids and food additives such as vegetarian rennet in some cheese, brewing and baking aids and colourings don’t require labelling.
  • Flavourings when they make up less than 0.1% of the final food product don’t require labeling.

This just beggars belief and yet a prominent NZ chicken producer (note producer and not farmer) recently proudly advertised their chicken was GM free, although they obviously forgot to mention that the feed that the chickens had lived their too brief lives on was not. Have these people never heard the old adage that we are what we eat!

Now this argument will rage on with the global corporates muddying the waters by telling us that the human race has been modifying our food supply for thousands of years, which is true but what they don’t mention is that it was always by natural means over time and not by adding a genetic code from a different species (anyone for frog in their corn!!). Or the other little chestnut that is bounced around as the argument killer is that we have to do this as our population has grown so big that we won’t be able to feed the world without GM, if this is true then why have Monsanto developed a suicide gene so that their seeds can only be grown once instead of a proportion of the crop being kept as the seed stock for the next year. To me this is just a cynical moneymaking exercise that should have them barred from a place at the table, this is our food.

So what can we do, tricky really as it would be wonderful to think that we had the politicians with the balls to stand up to these institutions but lets be honest that isn’t going to happen. At a personal level we need to start making choices that can make a difference. Make personal connections with your food suppliers, whether its your local butcher, fishmonger or farmers market, find out what they believe and learn to trust through sharing in their knowledge. Above all support your local farmers and producers, get to know them and encourage them. It’s your food.

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Why is that sports’ desperate need for money is being serviced by the very corporations that damage us the most? I know its just a fact of modern life but for me it just highlights how damaged and skewed our society is.

We try to teach our kids how to make appropriate choices and then when they excel at their sport they receive a MacDonald’s voucher. Some would say that we should be grateful for the financial support that this sort of sponsorship brings, to me its just a cynical marketing exercise.

When you look at the London olympics they have done a great job creating a food legacy that means that all the food is sustainable, local and as organic as possible. sounds good doesn’t it. Now to the big but, the hardest part of setting the food standards for this flagship sporting event was negotiating Macdonalds into agreement, and now since they are spending so much to be a title sponsor, no other supplier is allowed to mention their involvement.

Food is all about trust, and the sooner we all make friends with our food suppliers and stop believing marketing spin the better all of our health will be.

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Is it just me, or is the human race going to hell in a handcart? There are a couple of bits of insanity at the moment involving the serving size of over sugared sodas.

In America one of the fast food chains has come up with what they must have thought was a good idea in the face of public concern over childhood diabetes.  Simply put, if you supersize your over sugared concoction of chemicals, mysteriously called a soda, they will donate a dollar to the childhood diabetes charity.  I just can’t believe that an idea as stupid as this one ever made it out of the marketing meeting, what were they thinking? Is the search for profits so great that they can absolve themselves of any blame in the proliferation in diabetes and obesity?  Again to put it simply, if you make a habit of drinking more than your recommended daily sugar intake in one drink then you are going to need the services of the diabetes research people sooner rather than later.

Now I know it’s a personal choice, but on the basis that if we can prevent just one person from developing Type Two Diabetes we will save our local economy half a million dollars…and that’s just the financial cost, the personal cost for each sufferer is immeasurable. What bites me with this is the cynical approach of a so called food retailer to look for a genuine concern of their clients and potential clients, then instead of actually helping they use it as a sales tool.  Don’t get me wrong KFC the diabetes charities need your money, mainly to fight the very practices that you survive on.  Perhaps it would be a more socially acceptable thing to actually try to cut the sugar level or am I just being picky.

Now speaking of cynical approaches who do you think is organising the protests against Mayor Bloomberg in New York?  Is it really hundreds of thousands of hard-bitten New Yorkers – or perhaps the very lobby groups that work for the fast food industry?  Banning drinks that contain more than your daily recommended sugar intake sounds perfectly reasonable to me, because drinking an extra 16 oz of sugary crap on top of the 16 oz you’ve already consumed is just what you need. Give me a break this is not a personal freedom issue, if you drink 32oz of sugar and chemicals you’re a dumbass and probably don’t deserve any personal choice.

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This has been bouncing around the internet and for me highlights some of the problems with the food industry.

In New Zealand we have only 2 supermarket brands that effectively control what we all buy and at what price.

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Just thought I’d share this

Thank goodness the authorities have busted these hardened front-yard garden criminals

High-tech kitchen garden evangelist Roger Doiron says: “If this garden is deemed illegal, we’re in deep you-know-what.”

Earlier this year, Josée Landry and Michel Beauchamp of Drummondville, Quebec planted the front yard of the future: a gorgeous and meticulously-maintained edible landscape full of healthy fruits and vegetables. Now they’re being ordered by town officials to remove most of their gardens (town code states that a vegetable garden can’t occupy more than 30% of the area of a front yard) in the next two weeks to make their yard conform with newly harmonized town code. Front yard kitchen gardens are not the problem; they’re part of the solution to healthier and more sustainable communities.

Thank you Mark for making this public, I know it’s in Canada but can you really believe that your council wouldn’t do the same thing!!!!

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A few years ago I had the pleasure of a regular slot on BOP FM, a radio station in the Bay of Plenty New Zealand, with probably the best radio jock on the planet, Dave Ward. Wardies plan was to try to demystify the food industry and highlight some of the awfulness that happens to our food, hence stirring the pot.

All I can say is we had a blast, trying to be the voice of reason in a crazy world. Sadly the radio station closed down and Dave moved away to another station, I don’t think it was our fault, but we maybe didn’t help, there was one day when Dave and I went on a major rant about Macdonalds and the fact that weight watchers had sold out their loyal clients by joining forces with the golden arches. The owner of the station started desperately waving at the studio window, which we ignored until we’d gone a little too far. At the next commercial break we were informed that the station had just signed an advertising agreement with them and they weren’t happy, oopps.

So with Dave’s inspiration this is Stirring the Pot Part Two, every time I come across something in our food and food industry that I don’t agree with I’m going to share it with you, together we are going to challenge the establishment that frankly just wants us to shut up and buy their brand regardless of consequences. We’ll probably upset a few, but who cares, our food supply is more important.

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