NEWSLETTER Apr - May 2009


The number of free-range eggs sold is expected to rise to 2 billion a year by October 2009, matching declining sales of eggs from battery farms.

"Most people simply don't like the idea of a cage, says Tom Vesey, Chairman of the British Free Range Egg Producers' Association, who has 16,000 hens on 40 acres in Monmouthshire (Guardian, 16 May 2009)." "My birds can go out on the range at any time from 8am to dusk, and that is much more palatable. But I am in favour of all sorts of eggs. It's jolly nice for the middle classes to buy free-range eggs, but not everybody has the money to shop compassionately," he says.

It is claimed that it costs 9p extra to produce half-a-dozen free-range eggs, although a 30p mark-up may be expected. Tom Vesey attributes the extra expense to some questionable advantages: "the birds are more likely to acquire illnesses out-doors, they have to eat more feed to keep warm, and he had to maintain the outdoor range." He admits that he is "not desperately fond" of hens' eggs and says he couldn't see any difference in the flavour of eggs from free-range and caged birds: he attributed any difference to freshness. Birds need access to grass or other green plants, preserved or fresh, in order to yield vital fatty acids, including DHA and other omega-3 elements for development of the brains of human consumers. The nutrient value of the eggs can be altered by changes in the feed.

Read the full article.

Robbie Elliot is to appear at Stonehaven sheriff court in June. He has been accused under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of "failing to properly check the snares," an offence that carries a maximum penalty of a £10,000 fine or 12 months in Jail.

It appears that the badgers were found in May last year, trapped in snares in a forested area of the Highland estate near Birkhall, the Scottish summer holiday home of the Prince of Wales. Elliot has denied in earlier hearings charges of failing to check the snares at least once every 24 hours. Birkhall was inherited from the Queen Mother and in 2005 he spent his honeymoon there with the Duchess of Cornwall.

A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace confirmed that Elliot was suspended last year after the incident came to light; however, "he had since returned to duty." "Due to the time factor and the business of the estate his suspension was lifted, pending the outcome of the prosecution," the spokesperson said.

Last year the then Scottish Environment Minister, Mike Russell, rejected calls for snares to be banned, claiming that they were valuable for controlling predators such as rats, stoats, and foxes. However, he announced plans for tougher legislation to control their use, including identification tags on snares, catches to stop them closing too tightly and restrictions on placing them where they could cause unnecessary suffering.

They insist that "inspectors need to act more like police and light-touch regulation needs to be scrapped." Further, the FSA's Board at a recent Open Meeting in London agreed on a number of modernizing proposals for the Meat Hygiene Service, which included increases in fees by 4%. The FSA's Chief Executive Tim Smith said reaction times "needed to be quicker at certain times."

The meat industry was returned to individual owners after WW2 with varying results in charging rates and standards. Similar alterations were made in other EU countries and opinions differed on standards on the supposedly friendlier local premises to the relentless - but more heavily supervised - workings of the bigger enterprises and their relentless slaughter-lines. These matters were raised against cross-currents of NIMBYism and difficulties in ensuring standards of local inspection.

They present recurrent problems, heightened by recent shortcomings over labelling, and prompted Tim Smith to refer to the aftermath of the Pennington Report on an E-coli outbreak in South Wales in 2005. He observed:"We are moving away from tick boxes and more towards investigatory police work. If something smells wrong, it probably is." John Spence, a member of the Board and Chairman of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee added that lighter-touch regulation needed to be consigned to a bin that says "light-touch regulation does not work." He voiced his dissatisfaction that all slaughterhouses are not "up to standard." Another Board member, Margaret Gilmore, said that she was shocked that some aspects of the Pennington Report were so damning and that lessons had not been learnt from the 1990's. Fatalities could happen again, she added, "if we don't make these changes now"...

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The top 10 sandwich fillings in the UK are:

  1. Bacon, lettuce and tomato
  2. Egg and cress
  3. Chicken and bacon
  4. Prawn salad
  5. Chicken salad
  6. Cheese and pickle
  7. Tuna and sweetcorn
  8. Ham and salad
  9. Cheese and tomato
  10. Egg and bacon

The most recent statistics from the British Sandwich Association (BSA), whose Sandwich Week ran from 10th to 16th May, show that 25% of sandwiches are bought from multiple grocers such as Marks & Spencer's, 22% from bakers, 19% at the workplace, 15%, from café and sandwich bars and 5% from convenience stores and corner shops.

Now is the time for redoubled enterprise in fillings and breads for sandwiches, wraps, and pitas in the Portfolio style of eating plans. We shall be taking up this challenge for attractively and seasonally developed lunch boxes, picnic hampers, snacks, and for contents that almost comprise a meal in themselves. The BSA's top 10 is lamentably thin on attractions for veggies and other discriminating foodies. We'll have this problem wrapped up for caterers and for home-prepared butties.


All the information, including nutritional analysis, on this and may other dishes are available on our recipe pages.

He remarked that the recent spate of mergers and acquisitions in both the UK and the wider global meat industry had been brought to "a grinding halt by the recession" and that over-capacity was "still a problem".

He told the industry that while the Brazilian sector may have been struggling in the past year, it had recently seen the Real devalued, which indicated stiffening competition. DEFRA's Sue Popple warned delegates not to confuse food security with self-sufficiency and she urged the industry to take the problem of climate change seriously - in both adapting to meet the changes it will pose and working to mitigate the damage.

The "eat-less-meat" message engaged Richard Loise, Chief Executive and spokesman for the beef industry, which must be ready to tackle "simplistic" messages on meat and the environment: cutting down on carbon emissions was "a danger," he stated. He cited the example of an American catering company that had recently claimed reduction of its carbon imprint by 25% by no longer serving beef. Saving the planet by eating less meat is simplistic and dangerous: he said that "it's the kind of simple, headline-grabbing move we're likely to see from uninformed organizations." (which include, we note, officials at DEFRA and the Department of Health)...

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An account in the Meat Trades Journal (01 May 2009) continues the story: "The committed vegetarian was unable to finish the number 'Some girls are bigger than others' after catching a meaty smell up his nostrils" Morrissey said during his set: "I can smell burning flesh and I hope to God it's human", later he walked off-stage mid-song. He returned to belt out a few more hits, but not before giving a reason for his impromptu exit: "The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I just couldn't bear it" he said. George Bernard Shaw might have rattled off a more nicely phrased disgust and one timely as the British barbecue season opens with these polluting incinerations and hog roasts.

Other veggie performers such as Paul McCartney and members of the Killers "did not seem to have the same reaction as Morrissey, and for the Mancunian the day didn't get any better:" a 50-foot radius ban on cooking meat... meant that he had to stay in his trailer all night as the BBQ crew refused to stop.

  1. St. George's Day, Shakespeare's Birthday and Salad Days
  2. A Model Employee in a Cut Throat Business - Beauty with Cruelty
  3. Deadication to the Costing of Killing and Butchery
  4. An EU Row over Possible Carriage of Blue Tongue Virus
  5. Hospitality in Common for those "Special Dietary Requirements"








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