Posts Tagged ‘horse meat’

Mislabeled meat in Tesco, Jamie’s brisket. Where to buy real meat?

Pressure to cut costs

Pressure to cut costs


Tesco sells dutch pork labelled as British-reared. Horse meat still in the supply chain. Jamie Oliver shows consumers how to save money by buying brisket, then directs them to the supermarket on this website. COME ON, we must switch to shorter, local, supply chains and the local butcher or farmer for meat!

A previous blog on horse meat predicted another food scare due to the long food supply chain and cost cutting. Mislabelled pork will not kill anyone, so not really a scare, but an great example, and I am sure that we have not seen the last of this. Apparently large caterers are still finding traces of horse meat in what they buy and my worry is that the authorities are not that worried about foods, like dutch pork or horse meat that do not harm us.

BigBarn local food map

BigBarn local food map


Or perhaps they are very worried, as they realise very little can be done and the next food scare is going to be bacterial infected meat that pops up everywhere?

So for so many reasons we need to buy locally wherever possible, and help build local, honest, and transparent, food supply chains. Where you can see, or ask, where your food comes from and trust the supplier knowing he sees you as a valuable customer and advocate. And that any lie will soon be found out and reputation ruined. The more we buy the more local production and greater diversity of foods available.

Your friendly local butcher

Your friendly local butcher

As for Jamie, we have already sent lots of emails to his team asking for links to the BigBarn local food map to help more people find the best brisket, the story behind the meat and tips on preparation.

And PLEASE don’t be frightened of your local butcher, they will would be mad to tease you in front of other customers if you don’t know the difference between ribeye and rump, or brisket and topside. You local butcher needs your custom and will look after your needs to try and make you a regular customer.

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Supermarkets about to rip us off, again.

Fair, pricing?

Fair, pricing?

Supermarkets are all talking about sourcing British meat after the Horse Meat scandal. Will they add a fair mark-up on what they buy it for? Or will they do what they did with organic foods and add a higher profit margin because people perceived it to be better than non-organic.

Commercial profit making businesses will fix their prices on what they think the consumer will pay. Not on a fair mark-up on what they paid for the product. For organic produce this meant that all the Soil Association’s hard work promoting the benefits of ‘organic’ simply allowed the supermarkets to increase their margin and make more profit.

Your friendly local butcher

Your friendly local butcher

Many people predict this will now happen with British beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Foreign imports will not get the same high mark-up and consumers will notice the difference.

The supermarkets will then say ‘We made a special effort to source British meat but the consumer sent a clear message that they could not afford it’!

Your thoughts on this are very welcome below, especially any supermarket pricing manager!

The better way is to shop locally for your meat either from your local butcher or farmer. And ask lots of questions about the right cut, provenance, and price. You should get a better product and by cutting out the middlemen, save money.

Time to grow your own to avoid horse meat

Family Farm Shop

Family Farm Shop

The recent horse meat scandal has made most people realise that the only food you can really trust is local or home grown. Local because the producer will tell the truth about the food they have grown, because their local reputation is at stake. And home grown because you have watched it grow and waited patiently for that, just right, day when you can proudly show the family the fruits of your labour.

So now is the time to get organised for this year’s crops, and even make money on any excess produce through BigBarn’s Crop for The Shop scheme.

Most green fingered veggie growers will already have their veggie patch dug over with rotted down compost adding nutrients to the soil. They will have seed trays in the green house, or window sill, sprouting tiny plants ready to plant out after the last frost has gone.

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As an amateur grower my seed trays are sprouting mixed lettuce, beetroot, coriander and chard and getting a bit spindly on the floor of my office as they search for the sun.

This year I have opted to make life a bit easier by using Growrings, a ‘cheats’, raised bed. The rings arrived in the post as a flat pack and assembled by simply clicking together. I put some well rotted compost at the bottom and added some soil improver that was free from my local recycling depot then adding good fertile bought compost on top. This means I have a sterile, weed free soil to grow my veggies and can harvest without bending my back so far.

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I have also opted for a green house Growring to help my plants get a head start and protect them from frost and pests. I also have some Poshcloches on my weed infested veggie patch to encourage some early asparagus and protect my chard from rabbits.

Now I just have to wait and hope the last frost is early this year, unlike 2012 when most of by beans were killed.

The BigBarn local food map

The BigBarn local food map

I also hope that my crops will be so successful that I will be able to sell some through a local ‘Crop for the shop‘ shop. To find them look for a rosette on icons on our local food map.

If anyone has some top tips to share please add them below. My tips are:

You can see a video and buy Growrings in our MarketPlace by clicking here. And Posh Cloches here;

For old, unusual, taste not shelf life, varieties of seeds here

And to learn about veg growing try You Tube videos

More food scares coming to a supermarket near you!

Cheap, and nasty?

Cheap, and nasty?

Thank you Tracy from Pigbusiness for mentioning BigBarn on last night’s Channel4 News. The horse meat scare has not gone away yet and is a classic example of how corporates and a very long supply chain are not good for us.

Findus was bought by a private equity company from Nestle in 2000 with the objective to make profit. Either by avoiding tax or by cutting cost. Managers all along the supply chain for frozen lasagna, were instructed to cut cost and, I would guess, special checking procedures were also cut. So scares like horse meat were bound to happen.

The BigBarn local food map

The BigBarn local food map

And many predict, will continue to happen as other ingredients are tampered with, or in time, changed to reduce cost. A number of experts, for instance, are very worried about the quantities of anti-caking agents used in the manufacture of ready meals. These contain nasties such as sodium aluminosilicate that, some say, cause dementia.

The fantastic news is that there is a better way, and not expensive. COOK local ingredients. You can ask the producer questions about how the food you buy has been produced and know that because his local reputation is at stake, he will tell the truth.

Fiona at the Loch Arthur Farm Shop

Fiona at the Loch Arthur Farm Shop

Your local food will not have the cost of; a very long supply chain where every participant has taken a margin, haulage costs, marketing, fat cat salaries, packaging and Tesco markup.

I would expect most people will be a able to make a lasagne using local minced beef for not much more that the Findus product. Or cheaper if lentils are added to the meat sauce mix!

All we need to do, as a nation, is change our attitude to buying food, and cooking. Enjoy getting the story of your food from your butcher or local producer. And cooking is not a drudge. Let’s all get in the kitchen to create and celebrate!

Shocked to see horse meat in burgers and ready meals?

Beautiful Little Girl Eating A Cheeseburger

Should we be so shocked to see horse meat and other hidden dodgy ingredients in a food industry that has such a long supply chain and dominated by huge profit focused corporations?

It started with traces of horse meat in Economy Tesco Beefburgers. 3 weeks later, a reported 100% of the stated ‘beef’ in Findus Lasagne could be horse meat. And some may contain ‘bute’ a pain relief drug for horses that can cause the serious blood disorder aplastic anaemia in humans.

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It seems amazing that such a well known, and ‘trusted’ brand could allow this to happen. However, brands like Findus are traded between multinational companies, and the length of the supply chain, including foreign suppliers, put continual pressure on cost cutting. As a result cheaper ingredients are almost bound to appear.

Perhaps this ‘scare’ will encourage more people to look at the label. Like the economy burgers I once found in a school kitchen that were mainly water, rusk, reconstituted chicken (bone, connective tissue, skin) and only 8% beef heart, (yes the heart, not steak or mince). It was amazing to find the burgers I was making from local, grass fed, mature, lean, mince, cost only a fraction more.

Your friendly local butcher?

Your friendly local butcher?

A butcher on our BigBarn map last week told me that new customers were coming in to the shop and talking about the horse meat scandal. He was delighted with the new business and took extra time to talk about where his meat came from, and his competitive prices compared to the supermarket. He also told me that if he had added horse meat to his burgers, locals would have thrown bricks through his window.

No one has thrown a brick at Tesco and my butcher friend is rather frustrated that their clever marketing may protect them.

The BigBarn local food map

The BigBarn local food map

Since we launched BigBarn 12 years ago we have been warning about the dangers of the national supply chain and trying to build a shorter, more transparent, local food supply chain.

Since 2001 then we have experienced BSE, Salmonella, and foot and Mouth, food scares and I am sure we will see more.

So if you want to know where your food comes from type your post code in to BigBarn.co.uk and our local food map will show you local suppliers. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your demand will encourage further production and help build a more sustainable LOCAL food supply chain.