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Replace Pink Slime With Natural Taste Of Tipperary

Contributor Proinsias Barrett comments here on our recent post “70 Jobs Lost As O’Connors Nenagh Supermarket Closes.”

Proinsias writes:

“In the words of  Joni Mitchell in her song ‘Big Yellow Taxi,’ – ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone.

We already know the situation milk and other foodstuff producers are facing here in Ireland, with the bulk buying retail chains. If, as a producer, you don’t play ball with the multi-national grocery retailers you go out of business. Spotlight or Panorama recently aired a very good documentary on the difficulties faced by small/medium producers in getting their products out to customers. Usually the only way is through the ‘Big 5‘ multi-national chains. If you complain about the prices they are willing to pay, or go public about bulk deals etc, you usually end up with your product being subject to ‘quality issues and removed from display.’

Yet each year the profit margins of the these mega retailers increase further, into the Super Normal Profit category, while food and clothing prices are on the increase because, we are told of high oil prices, and increased demand globally for meat and dairy (China and India and emerging demand in parts of Africa).

Again, we the consumer, are being led by the nose. The processing of ‘food ‘ has evolved considerably in the last two decades, allowing what was once waste meat products being ‘processed ‘ into products for human consumption. Jamie Oliver, that crusader for natural wholesome un-processed home cooked food, refers to this product as ‘pink slime.‘ Technology has developed a machine which can literally suck the ‘meat ‘ out of bone and offal and using chemicals such as ammonia, various derivatives of sodium and mono-sodium glutamate, this slime now ends up being passed for human consumption in various forms such as Deli meats and canned meats. In fact he went so far as to say if you want real un-tampered with mince meat you have to physically watch your butcher mince some traceable beef or steak before your eyes.

People don’t know enough about the products they eat every day and buy every day from the Big 5. Look at the packaging in some of the mega retailers, labels like ‘product of several countries ‘ or ‘produced in the EU ‘ or simply ‘packed in the Republic of Ireland by such and such, for such and such.’ Nothing, no information what-so-ever. The meat could be hormone pumped intensively farmed pink slime, from countries where certain chemicals and food additives are allowed, which aren’t necessarily allowed over here. Simply by importing raw-materials and re-packing them here you can loophole many food regulation laws.
Haven’t Galtee and Denny admitted to importing ‘ham products ‘ from everywhere and anywhere, re-packing them and selling the meat as ‘a taste of Ireland ‘ and so on, citing issues with regular supply here in Ireland as the reason, claiming they didn’t want to ‘let down ‘ their customers with irregular availability and supply patterns. We have to get back to buying locally produced food, and it is happening slowly, but the mega retailers will fight it tooth and nail.

You have to question your environment and the laws governing your health and your children’s health. Because a product is available for sale doesn’t mean its ok. Who says it’s OK?  Someone who may regularly receive ‘gifts ‘ from a company trying to get around quality and traceability issues. Even the advertising standards commission are literally backlogged with cases of false advertising or advertisers making false claims. Skin products, health products, toilet products, kitchen products, we are led to believe every day that these things are essential to our daily lives. The advert on telly suggests that everyone else is using them so we should too. Now with summer well and truly around the corner the mega retailers are stocking up on weed killer, ant killer, insect killer, various sprays and potions and my favourite: jeyes fluid (who incidentally recently removed the warning from their ‘fluid ‘ which used to state ‘harmful to skin and all aquatic organisms ‘) … lovely… I’ll have two please.

Maybe I have strayed a little from the initial point I wanted to make, which is that while we all have free choice we should exercise it with caution. When all the small producers are gone we will be totally reliant on these mega retailers who have profit at the centre of their operations. Not the joy of producing something of quality, or supporting local produce, or contributing to the local economy. The amount of low paid jobs offered by these Big 5, as opposed to the destruction of local business/producers, doesn’t equate. We are (will be) the real losers. Twenty years ago, almost 100% of chicken consumed in Ireland was produced here, now this has fallen to 50% at best. It cannot be fresh if it has to travel half way around the world to the shelves of our mega retailers.

It has been proven that a market in a town or village causes a knock on effect of bringing in more business to already established shops in the vicinity. I suggest that the Saturday market which used to be a feature of Thurles be re-vamped and re-established on Liberty Square, and traffic restricted to essential only. The market, before it was banished over to Parnell Street car park, had admittedly become more of a brick-a-brack affair than a market proper, but with some insight and a will to change, a Saturday market in Thurles featuring a size-able amount of locally produced goods will eventually break the stranglehold the big retailers are imposing on us and on our friends and neighbours who are struggling to find a market for their produce.”

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1 comment to Replace Pink Slime With Natural Taste Of Tipperary

  • Just one small example supporting your article: Most all large processors use chlorine as the disinfectant or sanitizer when washing Lettuce, Fresh Fruit and other Vegetables for the Supermarket shelf. There will always be chlorine residues left on the product. Such foodstuff rarely are re-washed by consumers in their home food preparation. When used at specified levels for water disinfection, the reaction of chlorine with water is not of major concern for human health, however, other materials present in the washing water can generate disinfection by-products, that can seriously damage human health.

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