For once, organic British shepherds must be rubbing their hands in glee. Their reputation is definitely 100% untainted. There aren’t any organic licensed halal slaughterhouses and I shouldn’t think there ever will be. In fact it’s all a bit of a storm in a teacup. It’s hard to get a complete picture of what goes on in New Zealand abattoirs but, in all probability, the method used for halal and non-halal slaughter is identical, except for the prayer. But as usual, a little bit of digging exposes a murky world of parcels of meat without addresses or senders. In the UK some halal slaughterhouses, endorsed by purists, don’t pre-stun at all. Nor do kosher Jewish operations, and demand for certain cuts means that surplus meat is sold on to the conventional market.
Food fraud has become the buzz phrase of the year and this week’s news shows yet again how the existing system of self regulation, combined with external Food and Trading Standards, just doesn’t work. Organic standards aren’t perfect but make a difference because everybody concerned wants and needs them to.
For the vast majority of our lamb and beef, we use a local operation a couple of miles away that Riverford has been dealing with for over thirty years. They’re a family run business with three generations actively involved. It’s a s*** job but someone has to do it, and they do it with a degree of feeling that makes me happy to shout about it rather than hide it – and that’s saying something.
I was going to go on to talk about news from a couple of weeks ago that many processed lamb ready meals were anything but. I think I’ve said enough. That particular fraud won’t happen with a short, straight supply chain. Who knows what happens on a slow boat from New Zealand?