Yes There’s Donkey In Your Sausage and No I don’t Understand Your Outrage…
I’ve been angry this morning. I waited for my anger to subside before writing this article, knowing that if I don’t calm down, I’m going to probably write something offensive. I’m also at huge risk of coming across as self righteous here. My tendency towards self righteousness has been triggered in a grand way by the story that broke yesterday about a Stellenbosch university finding pork, chicken, donkey, goat and water buffalo in processed meat products.
Yes, I have a weakness towards self righteousness and I have no qualms admitting that. We all have weaknesses and best we make best friends out of them and learn to work with them. The shadow side of my need to deeply question life and societal norms is sometimes the tendency towards needing to be right, a fertile breeding ground for self righteousness. So here I am and I’ve been proved right about why it isn’t a good idea to outsource your nutrition to a factory and I’ve got to battle down the part of me that wants to stand up on this rooftop and shout ‘I TOLD YOU NOT TO EAT PROCESSED RUBBISH’ to the whole of Bryanston!
The light and golden side of the exact same trait is what inspires the activist in me, the part of me responsible for making people question what they believe because I never stop doing so. So I’ll live with it and ask you to forgive me for the tone of my response as I vent out loud here.
Simply put, I do not have it in me to write this article in a calm and detached manner. Every time I calm down and I start writing the article or think about this topic again, I get angry all over again.
So in the spirit of the Jozi Real Food Movement and keeping it real, I’ll just express myself in this way unedited.
The last time I did this, was when I wrote about how fed up I am with sugar as a normal part of diet in our country and mothers who poison their kids on it and it turned out to be the article you most loved and was the most widely read of all – ! – so I lay down my polyanna hat and herewith unleash my inner tyrant.
You’ve been warned.
I’ve receive mail this morning asking me for an opinion on these findings, asking for comment about what I think about the fact that there is, amongst other things, water buffalo, goat and donkey in some pies, deli meats, burger patties and viennas.
To those of you that haven’t heard the scoop yet, in short meat scientists at Stellenbosch University have found that 68% of processed meat products, including deli meats, burger patties and sausages, contain amongst other things, water buffalo, goat and donkey meat.
I’m flabbergasted at the general response to this piece of non-information and the reason I call it such is because I don’t understand how anybody thought that there wasn’t animal protein of questionable origin in processed meat products in the first place?
Did you check the price at the till? Did you wonder how it is that a processed meat product is so cheap? Did you care? Did you actually even read the label – had it said ‘Meat (beef40%, chicken20%, water buffalo 20%, goat 20%) would you have even noticed?
Why is everybody so surprised? Let’s be real? This is the. hallmark of anonymous, conveyor belt food.
We know this.
How can you outsource the nutrition of your family to some anonymous factory, not ever ask the right questions, not ever need to know what you are eating and then claim to be outraged when it turns out that they haven’t been entirely transparent?
The very fact that you didn’t want transparent and didn’t ask for transparent created the very conditions for this abuse to happen.
And you think that you’ve been abused, man let me tell you about the animals behind the scene. You – Mr outraged consumer – have come off lightly.
Trust me that you don’t want transparency. If you saw what goes on in meat processing plants you’d probably vomit.
Most times, I hear people say ‘oh stop it, I don’t want to know’.
Did you stop before purchasing that sausage and ever think to ask the most basic of questions – what is in this?
Or could it true, that the reason we got into such a large mess with food is precisely because we relegated nutrition to something low down in our list of priorities while we chased other important things like careers and money and convenience, efficiency and new hairstyles? I have met people that will eat any meat and compare it on price alone and that tell me bare-shamedly that they don’t care where it comes from.
The only reason a manufacturer can get away with this is because the consumer wanted cheap and the consumer wanted efficient and turns the other way when purchasing a cheap sausage without wanting to know why the product is so cheap.
I cannot muster up compassion here. I just am unable to.
Let me add another layer to this context hat may help you understand why I’m so irritated by the general reaction of Mr Joe Soap right now.
Generally – in my life – I’m the wierd one because I spend most of my life activating for food and for getting people access to whole, rich, untainted, real food. What a super wierd oddball I am!
The organic cause has been something that has been a part of almost every breath I have taken for over 3 years now. The more I found out about the real state of modern food, the more I became defined by and driven by a passion to get people clean, whole, organic, good, untainted, real food from real farms.
For much of that time, I have been generally perceived as a bit of an eccentric! I clearly have some baggage here that I’m working through. I’ll call my therapist in the morning…’till then, bare with me?
For most of that time, I’m the lone mother facing an upset child because I don’t want to feed my child ‘NORMAL’ food. Normal – being refined, filled with artificial colorants and preservatives, loaded with sugar and empty calories and genetically modified foodstuffs. Normal now also meaning, goat, water buffalo and pony in normal viennas. I have yet to take my daughter to a party where she doesn’t come home with a ‘normal’ party pack filled with factory food, sugar, poison and horror. But I for the most don’t get supported in my position on food, I’m the embarrassing one making everybody squirm because I won’t accept the normality of this type of utter junk.
I am generally a lone voice. I have had to argue with norms all over the place and get frustrated blue at the ongoing battle to keep everybody else’s ‘ normal’ toxic sludge away from my daughter’s beautiful constitution.
All the while being absolutely sure that anybody who thinks feeding their child factory, conveyor belt ‘food’ is normal – is insane, all the while knowing that ‘normal’ in the context of where we’re at with food is so absurdly perverted, it’s crazy.
The very same mothers who made me feel abnormal when I didn’t want my daughter eating cheap viennas and burgers at children’s parties, seem to be the very same who are apparently outraged.
Can you see why I’m almost choking on indignation here?
Do we really think that somebody buying a processed meat product – a pie – a sausage made by ‘big food’ – a bright pink vienna for heaven’s sake, a cardboard boxed pattie from a corporate for heaven’s sake – is going to read the label in the first place?
Trust me that if you were of that mind – you wouldn’t be buying your food from that freezer and that aisle in the first place.
Tell me Mr incensed customer – let’s say that you did in fact pick up a typical processed meat product and decided that you wanted to read the label, would you still have brought that product?
I can’t for the life of me figure out why anybody buying processed meat products in the first place would be reading labels?
For the sake of trying to illustrate the lunacy that fuels my outrage here and appeasing my audacity – let’s say you had an epiphany and you decided to read the label.
The label would have contained a vague or clear reference to meat, it would have stated ‘meat’ and in a better label it would say what that meat is whether it’s beef, chicken, pork etc. It then would have listed a whole host of chemical additives and ingredients that I bet my bottom dollar you don’t know what they mean anyway? I didn’t notice you minding this?
I didn’t see you asking what the cereal content of the sausage was? I didn’t hear you question the source of the meat, you didn’t seem to need to know how the animals that provided the meat were fed or reared, you were happy to just eat it regardless.
You didn’t ask the ‘manufacturer’ who processed animal flesh together with a series of chemical additives, preservatives, sugar, genetially modified cereals, colorants and gm soy to tell you what you they were putting in your meal and when they did label these ingredients – you still brought that mayhem of a product – and then want to get outraged because it contains questionable animal protein?
I just don’t understand this.
My argument is that the very fact that this is a processed product that you were happy to eat means that in the very first place, you are not the type of customer that is going to care what is in it. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but this is where the rubber meets the road for me.
Getting angry with the manufacturer because they played on your own ignorance, is too outlandish for me to swallow.
Of course, I’m angry at the ‘businessmen’ who fraudulently omitted to reveal how it is that they gave you such a cheap product to start with. It’s just that I don’t expect anymore from factory food.
It’ s not the nature of them and it is what it is. A product – not food.
If you decided to outsource the nutrition of your family to an anonymous warehouse, then how can you be surprised?
I don’t believe you would have read that label anyway. What were you doing feeding your child processed meat to start with?
I ask again – what did you think you were feeding them and if your answer is that you didnt think and you didn’t think it important to find out exactly what is going into your child’s delicate system, then perhaps this may be the wake up call the consumer so desperately needs?
Maybe instead of outrage and ‘them’ and ‘the manufacturer’ – you can direct it at the place where it is most likely to create the change you desperately need within – direct it within and ask yourself ‘can I prioritise nutrition and food differently and start buying good, clean, real food from real farms’?
Just last week – my daugther came home with another wretched ‘party pack’ from a child’s birthday, most of which I had to turf.
One particular product still gives me the chills. It was a tube of hard plastic -the type that we will never ever get rid of and that is going to wind up choking the life out of some life at sea, filled with luminously colored balls. I’m not even talking ‘normal’ food colorants that are harmful enough for children especially, I mean literal luminescent colours with a ‘made in china’ sticker on it and little else in the way of information.
I was the ONLY PARENT that raised an eyebrow at this, and the only one that threw it away and that by the way is considered a little abnormal.
I didn’t see other parents reading the labels. I didn’t see any parents concerned either about the viennas in the hotdogs at this party, I didn’t see anyone caring, I was alone in my concern as per usual.
It simply isn’t considered normal to take ownership of your nutrition that way and that for me is utterly abnormal and the lunacy and tragedy of our lack of nutrition is what gets me and drives me in this business each and everyday.
That’s why I sing from the roof tops about the value in real farmers. That’s why I want you to meet them. That’s why I want to create a community of real food heroes wherever I find them.
I haven’t for one second had to worry that I ate anything like that since the news broke. I am 100% certain that I haven’t because I know the source of all of my food.
Yes I do!
The only beef I eat is from Kalahari 100% Grass Fed Beef, we have full traceability on every carcass back to that farm. I have broken bread with that farmer, walked that farm, invested in that farm. When a carcass from that farm arrives at the deboning plant, it comes with a batch code so that we can trace it back at any stage. I know what those cows eat.
The only chicken I eat is from Mandy’s farm, I have a direct relationship again with this farmer, I know her farm, I know what the chickens are eating, I know how they’re living, it is what it is.
I take calls from customers all week asking questions about their food – how are the chickens slaughtered, what are they eating, where is this farm, what do the Kalahari cows eat, how are they treated and I see it as my job to answer those questions, or there isn’t much point to any of this.
My drive is to close the gap between you and the origin of the food and as I kick up momentum on the Jozi Food Revolution some more – and I will be – every new development in this journey will be about getting you closer and closer to the farms so that you walk them with me and know the farmer by name.
It is only through transparency that this situation of manufacturers selling you rubbish will go away.
So if this news means that more people will start asking for transparency about what they’re eating and more people will start to eat food from real farms, farms that they’ve asked questions about, then I’ll be super delighted because this is what a revolution is all about. Doing it differently. Making it real.
Never mind all of that though – the bottom line is – I’ve said this before and I’ll say it over and over again – first principle of eating real food is to buy food from farms that are farming naturally. Do not buy food from a corporate that represents a factory that has your food made on a conveyor belt.
Never buy conveyor belt meat – that is a factory of horror, trauma and misery.
Do not buy processed food. If you want meat, eat a steak, you don’t want anything that comes out of a factory and has been reconstituted – that can never be and is not food.
Real food is not assembled, it comes off the land.
If you eat real food, there are no need for ingredient lists in the first place.
I know that this article isn’t directed at you, ultimately, if you’re reading my blog, you’re on the conscious, real food journey and it’s unlikely that you’re a person that has been eating factory produced burgers, sausages, pies or viennas anyway.
Just eat real food.
When people look at you as if you’re crazy when you don’t want to feed your family this horror – just think back to this article at least and know that far from crazy, when the next food scare breaks, you’ll be battling self righteous indignation as I have today.
Thanks for listening and here’s hoping that you’re all going to eat a meal tonight made with food from real farms and ditch anything that comes off a conveyor belt from factory, it isn’t food and it has no place at your supper table.
If you feel unsupported in your efforts, call me.
I’ll back you.