Last week I felt inundated to saturation point both by chicken welfare and by healthy eating.
First there were three programmes, on three consecutive nights, from Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall comparing the merits (or otherwise) of “Intensive” versus “Free range” chicken meat production. I’ll say no more about this!
Then there was a study of three families’ diets comparing fresh food, standard convenience food and special convenience food. Funnily enough, little coverage was given to the real food, most of the emphasis being on the fact the more expensive ready meals (up to five times more costly) where on the whole less good for the body than the cheaper ones.
No cost comparisons were proffered for the fresh food, but it came out top of the class for its nutritional value, of course.
Then we had Jamie Oliver doing his bit on both the hen and the egg scene to bring home to Joe and Joanna Public the message that there is a need for awareness about the food we eat. I never did fancy those hot dog sausages, but nothing would persuade me to try one now!
At the same time, I was in the middle of re-reading “Not On The Label” by Felicity Lawrence. This should be compulsory reading for anyone who eats.
All in all, it was a week to put anybody off eating anything at all, let alone chicken!
Just as a matter of interest, on Friday I went into the new Sainsbury shop in Gorseinon, half a mile from home, to see how many free range and standard chickens were on display.
To my surprise, there was not a single item of free range chicken to be had. Nor were there spaces where they might have been before, possibly having been ‘bought up’ in reaction to the publicity…. Just rows of standard chickens and chicken parts.
So I asked an employee if it were possible to buy free range products in Sainsburys?
He strode confidently to the shelf, pondered a bit and then said brightly: ” Oh for things like that you would have to go to one of our bigger stores like the one in Swansea city centre” ( seven miles away) ……Why?
I have always prepared real food from scratch every day, and I feel more than ever glad that I never became sucked into the ‘ready meals’ circus.
I have, however, been made even more aware of the value of organic produce, and also of the ever increasing need to read labels carefully and indeed, to read between the lines……