02 April 2015

Palm oil

...No, not that greasy feeling after lots of push-hands. Oil from the imported tropical palm fruit has no business being in food that didn't need it until now, in my opinion. This is happening because companies put profit over environmental or even flavour concerns. Palm oil is traditionally and legitimately used in Caribbean cuisine, of course. We have plenty of sunflower and rape seed oils grown locally in Europe and the UK. Even 'sustainably grown' palm oil is a misnomer, as it travels so far to get here. Why this rant? Even my staple snack - oatcakes, seem to be full of it now, even Nairn's brand. When was palm oil a part of traditional Scottish oaties? I tried a few locally made oat cakes whilst I was in Aberdeenshire, as I remembered buying them at roadside stalls and eating them when I lived there. Sadly they were actually quite revolting - lardy and over salted. So- prizes will be given for helping me find a regular source of tasty oaties and also crackers (yes even Carr's water biscuits...) which do not contain palm oil. I have hear that Lidl or Aldi do some... I will have to look. perhaps it is time to make them myself, as I do with bread, yoghurt, and other staples. This is also happening with added 'high-fructose corn syrup'. The EU couldn't stop the US dumping this industrial by-product on us and gallingly having to label it with a sort-of healthy sounding name. Even worse than ordinary sugar, it is finding its way onto labels on items I have been buying for 20 years or more. If you haven't checked the label of your regular products recently, you may be in for a shock. look up 'clean label': it's a ruse by the food / chemical companies to not really tell us what's in the food they make.

A radical idea: create products with as few non whole-food ingredients in the food as possible, no additives unless needed. There are still producers trying to achieve this, but 'the market' values cheap and crappy. This is why our dairy farmers suffer; their animal welfare and costs are so much higher than elsewhere in the world. The side effects of cheap and easy are low welfare sources of meat and milk, masses of plastic waste, toxic levels of sugar, fat, additives and cheap thickening agents in our food, and this is supposed to be progress?

If wanting simple, safe, ordinary foodstuffs is going to be a cranky left-field project, what is going on? I shall go and water my rocket and lettuce seedlings...

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