Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Honest Food Campaign

Like it or not, food is a political issue: Agri-business, food aid, farming subsidies, set-aside, fishing quotas, food miles, food labelling - the list is near endless.

There are a number of campaigners who work tirelessly for a great many causes: HFW and his Chicken Out Campaign, Jamie saving farmers’ bacon, Anthony Worrall Thompson and, well anything the mercenary squashed Bee Gee will get a pay-cheque for.

And now the Tories.

I received an email from none other than David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, this morning (can only assume I am on some sort of mailing list, he didn't email me personally - I'm not that powerful. Yet).

Yesterday they launched their Honest Food Campaign in order to raise awareness about the misleading and quite shoddy state of food labelling in this country.

In order to illustrate their point, they use the example of a 'British' pork pie made with meat from Dutch pigs. They even have a little viral video to go with it, see? Look, just here:

Whilst I applaud the sentiment, I can't help but think it smacks slightly of bandwagon jumping. This has been an issue for a number of years and countless chefs and food writers have been harping on about it for longer than I can remember. For Ramsay's sake: CATCH UP.

Also, there are some staggeringly good viral campaigns out there. I've been left open-mouthed in awe or laughing until I cry by some of the more successful ones.

This, on the other hand, is possibly the most cack-handed one I've seen for a long time. It appears to have been designed, written, directed and animated by a team of pygmy chimpanzees with special needs. The Internet is a wonderful tool but in the wrong hands it can go horribly wrong.

So, yes, good idea, poor execution and, sadly, another example of politics playing catch-up rather than leading the charge, which is really what government should be about.

Still, nice to know that even as the country's economy continues to melt quicker than an ice cream sundae next to a glassblower's lips, our political elite are thinking about pies. My confidence is restored.

Tweet me. Go on, you know you want to.


dp said...

Honestly, European standards for food labeling probably far surpasses the American standards. After the new year, supermarkets here in Portland (maybe all of Oregon) had to start labeling where the produce comes from and they aren't even all compliant yet. Canned foods might be labeled with country of origin. I thought it was law, but apparently laws can be ignored. They don't need to be labeled if they contain GM ingredients either, so I always assume they do.

Since the massive beef recall a couple of years back and now this latest peanut products recall here, I no longer have faith that the FDA and many American food producers will do the right thing and give consumers accurate and thorough information.

Alex said...

Goodness, how can you be so mean?
To the Messrs Gibb of course!

But, serious post. Yes - total Tory bandwagon jumping. Makes you cringe doesn't it?

Kathleen Bade said...

I want to.......I'd like to.....

I look at the food here....

and I remember how good the food tasted there....

Much like DP I no longer have faith...in the FDA and such.

Jeanne said...

"It appears to have been designed, written, directed and animated by a team of pygmy chimpanzees with special needs. "

You crack me up. Good post & good points.

Just Cook It said...

DP - Totally agree with you. It really shouldn't be this hard, should it? In my opinion it shouldn't even be an issue. It's food for god's sake.

Alex - Ha! Tres amusant.

Kathleen - thanks. Strange that politics has made food such a complex issue. It should be simple. Sigh.

Jeanne - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Cameron's brother is married to HFW's cousin and i believe they were in the same year at Eton. Strange...

Just Cook It said...

Nick - Hmmm, makes you thin, doesn't it? I didn't know that, very interesting