Friday, June 11, 2010

Two Thoughts on Food

First thought: If we import such a huge amount of pork from Canada (some say 85%, others 50%, lets just agree on 'a lot') where is it?

The major supermarkets brand their pork cuts as "Australian" so it isn't their. My reasoning is that it must be in the ham and bacon. Now I have done a random survey over the past few weeks and all of the products I can find are labelled "Made in Australia using local and imported ingredients" (or variations of that). I understand that processing is required to turn pork into ham or bacon and that additional ingredients are required and that, as such, it does comply with our labeling laws but .... I mean take a piece of bacon, remove all the pork (from Canada) and there isn't a whole lot left to be called Australian! Something has gotta give on this one ....

Second thought: I am contemplating food security again. I may be wrong but it is my impression than we have pretty much learnt all we can to maximize production of our conventional crops using techniques and inputs to improve soil, encourage growth, and minimize the impediments of weeds and pests. That isn't to say that all farmers across the world use these techniques, or that they can't be tweaked for future improvements.

As we look to the future, to feed the future global population we will need to move away from "conventional" and into what will be the "new-conventional". This obviously includes the increased reliance on genetically modified food, vertical farming and food substitutes.

On this last point, they have almost perfected fake meat that tastes like chicken - and before we all say yuk and admit that we would never eat that, think about all of the other fake food that we eat - olestra, saccharine, cheese in a can, the list goes on. In fact any prepared food contains ingredients that would never go into the real recipe and we would never choose to eat.

It may be easier to reduce food waste and change our attitude to food but that is too much to ask. I honestly am beginning to think that my generation might be the last that will remember "real food" - I have already ranted about the younger generations (say anyone under 30) not knowing about real milk, what a real tomato tastes like, not knowing how to cook from scratch and how most of them accept GM readily (or with complacency), and all the rest.

The world is a changing and the more I think about it, the less I like this aspect of it.