VEGA News Item

Wet Weather Washes Away 100% British Wheat Pledges - 10/05/2013

The worst British crop in 30 years has scuppered promises by major suppliers reports The Grocer...


The report in the Grocer (4 May 2013) records the plight of the 100% British loaf and sundry other wheat derivatives and good reasons for the predicament the food industry finds itself in. It affects Hovis bread, Weetabix and some McVities products and we advise our readers to read the labels closely, even more so than normal.

A short history of VEGA’s Campaign for Real Bread (CAMREB) has reached a critical point. Obviously it has alerted people to take a more active interest in the sources of bread, but the campaign in the first instance aroused great interest in the baking and milling industries. It was an accompaniment to the Green Plan for Farming and Food which we launched in 1976 to try to purge the bread industry of some nasty additives and to spread into the cereal industry because it was increasingly using cereals wastefully to feed animals rather than people.

We had tremendous response from the trade and food activists and produced a book which is still printed and which received commendations as we covered the production of all cereal products and the shift of agricultural production to Go Green. So from the familiar bread and butter, we sought alternatives that were less investigated by the food industry such as ciabatta, sourdough and oriental cereal protein mixtures as accompanying a valid type of Green Plan: Grow Food not Feed.

Accordingly we have sought other types of cereals and bread, particularly using oats, barley and rye, ie in the breakfast cereals and alternatives to fry ups. Breakfast for example, could be replaced by muesli.

We are presently investigating matters that have arisen entirely from ‘reading the labels’. A welcome development is a bread made from mixtures of cereals such as wheat, soya and linseed bread and types that are now commercially available. Investigating this, we find that the protein content is increased by almost 50%, ie from about 10% to 15%. So a highly original new development of bread as a source of protein is entirely vegan and can replace all protein sources.

However, there remains one small thing we are trying to resolve. That is the fortification of flour for bread making, applied to commercial white breads which we think were applied during the war too recklessly to satisfy demands, for instance in calcium, iron and B vitamins. This is unnecessary and questionable today although it could be increased generally in white bread with iodine, vitamin D, zinc and so on and therefore expert opinion should be sought and questions asked. We are seeking answers to those questions, particularly as bread is intended for people who have no meat and people with no commercial cereals in their diets.

This should not at the moment be any assertion that the new products are anything but beneficial in the diet.

This may surprise reformers to their food because manufacturers are handling matters seriously and they benefit demands from agriculture generally and the demands from wastefully converted protein from animal sources, which also includes by-products and co-products of the milling industry and their inclusion in the diet. Innovations are welcome aspects of food production, leading to greater implementation of Green Plan systems with health and wellbeing in every sense of the words.

In conclusion, global crops of wheat appear to be good and developments such as genetic engineering should not occupy priorities in agriculture which would produce a lot of discord at the moment among consumers who would be unwilling to make demands primarily on genetic engineered crops and feed.


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