I went shopping in Sainsbury’s today.
There is a section amongst the vegetables which I have walked past with a snigger several times now, but this time I thought I would look more carefully – in fact I happened to have a pen in my pocket, so I wrote on the back of my shopping list a list of the items in the section. The items are pre-packed in plastic trays, with film covering and a label. Here is the list:
Carrots and Swede Potato Mash
Baby Potatoes with Herbs and Mint Butter
Mini Baked Potatoes with Herb and Mint Butter
Roast Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
Ready to Roast Potatoes with Thyme
Crispy Potato Slices
Mini Baked Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Butter
Peeled Maris Piper Potatoes
Now I have to admit that they looked pretty appetising.
But if you think about their star celeb advertiser, Jamie Oliver, and his superhuman efforts to get the nation cooking and eating proper food (which I very much applaud, by the way, as in the words of Mr Tesco, ‘Every little helps...’) you can hardly miss the irony of Mr Sainsbury doing everything but eat the potatoes for you, whilst piling on the packaging and at the same time demotivating their customers from doing anything but flicking the buttons on a microwave!
If I turned out a tray of homemade carrot and swede potato mash, wrapped it in cling-film and left it in their veg. section, I wonder how long it would be before it turned brown or went mouldy? What do they put into it to stop theirs going the same way? I am deeply suspicious of that classic ingredient found in most products in supermarkets, ‘preservative’; and I didn’t read the label on these products; but I expect that ‘preservative’ is there!
Many of us worry about the side effects of eating GM crops, but how many of us think about what ‘preservatives’ might be doing to us?
But then, if you peel and cook your own potatoes in your own kitchen, Health and Safety might have some unnerving things to say in a risk assessment!