Food scare in the Green era
One potential area of interest in the handling of the pork scare is that it’s the first big food chain disruption with the Greens in government. And in some ways, what we know about the problem should be a vindication of the “green” ethos, since as with BSE, the contamination comes from not agriculture in its “natural” state, but in the industrial methods that support intensive farming. Yet in the initial reaction to the pork scare, there seems to be more blame-shifting than any new thinking on how we get our food.
For example, this Green press release, without giving any context, blames the EU for the lack of traceability in pork. And Minister of State for food, Trevor Sargent, is separately quoted as blaming the reliance on a UK testing lab for part of the delay in realizing the extent of the contamination. But can the fact of the tests being done in the UK really be part of the problem? You can fly there in an hour. There are 3 government jets for ministerial travel. Presumably the country can get its hands on one plane for an urgent flight with the samples? So we’d need to know a lot more about the timeline since the problem first arose to see whether Sargent is on to something.
If the “solution” turns out to be our own expensive bio-sampling agency with its own expensive management and decentralised to its own expensive offices, we’ll wonder if the Greens have gone native.