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Greener Turkeys? Careful what you wish for!

Green turkey, fish-tainted eggs, waterlogged bacon, slurry tasting cheese, green potatoes from excess nitrogen….. The Tesco green turkey headlines are a tragic reminder of the poor state of our food system.

Green Muscle Disease is not new but it is on the increase due to greed. It is prevalent in mass produced overgrown broilers where there is necrosis and atrophy of the deep pectoral muscle – in short they have tried to flap wings that are not built for the weight of breast meat on their frame. They are stressed in over-crowded conditions and/or ‘developed’ breed for bigger cuts and other environmental stresses. The increased blood circulation caused by flapping exerts pressure restricting the blood supply to the muscle, creating oxygen deficiency and localized death of cells. The breakdown of haemoglobin and myoglobin causes the green effect.

This would never occur in a traditional breed, (pictured above with ducks) bred slowly in a low density free range enterprise as nature intended – and the resulting poultry would be tastier, healthier and, although pricier, would make more meals (roast, soup, risotto, fricassee and stovies). We need to re-think our poultry industry – cheap food has consequences we cannot afford.

What do you really wish your food to taste like in the future? We aim for a Good Food Nation, we are naturally concerned for the explosion in food banks, yet we are so focussed on reformulation, mass production, bigger farming systems, cross breeding for size and conformation…when will the powers that be realise we are heading for a real mess!

Good, Clean and Fair is the mantra of Slow Food devotees: good quality; cleanly

produced for the environment; fair to both producer and consumer in terms of price. Too many think this a middle class idyll – this is SURVIVAL! If we do not pay more heed to our environment, the real price of food and fair prices to our farmers we shall lose our landscape as well as our food; over-rely on processed imports and suffer the health consequences for years to come. Hand-outs, mass-production and fast-growing turbo breeds are not the answer, they are the problem.

In the end can we really pay for the healthcare this all causes and the suffering of people? It is time to dump highly processed foods from our diets and eat more naturally; read labels with care and avoid sweeteners, modified starch, palm oil and a host of other ingredients masquerading as nutrition! Your food security should not rely on a nearby supermarket – they only hold sufficient stock for 48 hours at best! Your food sovereignty should not be underestimated – landrace breeds and fruit varietals are endangered and will be our saviours one day as climate changes and political actions affect biodiversity and trade.

We wish you a very healthy and sustainable New Year. Our sincere thanks to all those who support Scottish Food Guide, either through Membership or by using its many pages for your shopping, booking and ordering. We hope you continue to find it interesting, thought provoking and inspiring; for its eating experiences and the produce of our wonderful country. Without our committed chefs and skilled producers our world would be a far poorer place.

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