This is Nuts

10th February 2015

Does anybody in the food industry actually care anymore? Do they take us for suckers? Do they think they can serve us any old rubbish and we’ll just accept it? Not content with mixing horsemeat in with other meats to bulk it out, we’re now faced with an even more dangerous problem – nuts in our spices.

This could kill someone. So, OK, horsemeat in your lasagne wasn’t great (and for me, the issue was always the mislabelling of meat – I don’t object to eating horse since so many people in other countries in the world do).There was a complete lack of control within the meat industry. But now we hear that some operators are contaminating their supply of paprika and cumin with almonds.

Ever seen anyone having an anaphylactic shock? Believe me, it’s not pleasant. One of my children has an allergy to nuts and almonds in particular. He has to carry an epi-pen around with him wherever he goes, just in case. I know of cases of people who only need to be in a room where someone has previously been eating nuts to set off an attack. At least ten people in the UK died from a reaction to food, and that isn’t including the deaths from asthma set off by a food allergy.

The EU are very focused on this and have identified 14 allergens that anyone in the food industry has to be aware of. It can feel a little overbearing but it’s necessary to raise everyone’s awareness. It’s vital that allergy sufferers can make informed choices about the food they eat.

But if that food is contaminated at source, what then for the burger van, the café and the Michelin-starred restaurant? If that paprika is contaminated with almonds, what can you do about it?

There needs to be a huge investigation into this matter. The public needs to know what has happened. People need to be brought to account. Is this yet another result of supermarkets putting pressure on suppliers to reduce their costs? Let’s hope we find out.

Until then, eat local. It’s seems the safest thing to do.


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