Question in The Guardian

Don’t know how much of a response it will get:

A serious question here.

“Surely we can do better than this? When it comes to straightforward supply chain, eggs should be easy and yet the supply chain has been revealed to be fundamentally chaotic. Along the way, the humble egg became a cypher for a globalised food system where the opportunity for spectacular disaster is never far away.”

Can anyone point to a time and place when the food system managed two things together?

1) Feeding everyone, well. By this, in volume, with variety, without periods of dearth let alone starvation and at a less than extortionate cost. Say, perhaps, under 20% of household income.

2) Was locally based with short supply chains?

If there had ever been such a time then of course we could just go back and copy what they did. If there hasn’t then we’ve a bit of a problem really.

17 comments on “Question in The Guardian

  1. Their answer will be no: and they’ll insist that everyone should spend more on “real” food and less on {insert bogey-product of the week}. Because they can’t put themselves in the shoes of someone too poor to afford better food; and if they can, they secretly think that making the poor go hungry is actually a good thing.

  2. Wasn’t there some hideous EU milk quota disaster with Shetland? They didn’t have enough quota to produce the locally consumed milk. And the trip from Aberdeen was not right (too long / lumpy seas) for export from northern Jockland.

    So instead of “special case, give them some more quota”, they got “special. Are, allow double pasteurisation”?

  3. “Supplying eggs to London will require quite a lot of chickens in the “local supply area”.”

    Ditto dairy cows, wheat fields and pig farms.

    It would be interesting to see the response if all foreign sourced foods were eliminated from UK supply chains, and just UK produced foods were available. Personally if there’s meat and spuds I’m happy, but I bet the people who shout loudest about ‘local food production’ would be the ones complaining they couldn’t get their usual quinoa salad.

  4. I can answer the two questions.
    The entire world and all of human history until modern times.

    Locally produced food was the norm. Storing food in granaries and icerooms was the norm so that food was available all year round from the local area and stored food.

    Its only in relatively modern times that it has been cost effective to import food from a distance away such that anyone can buy it. And that cities can grow beyond the capacity of local farmland, even with modern farming methods / machinery to support them.

  5. ‘Fundamentally chaotic’ means “not government controlled.”

    ‘Still, the idea gives us something to chew on as the next existential food crisis rolls into town – this time, eggs contaminated with a toxic insecticide, fipronil. This latest scandal serves to illustrate how little control and say we have over our agricultural system.’

    Existential ?!?! What an excitable girl! Fipronil is hardly toxic.

    ‘how little control and say we have ‘

    WE? WHO THE FVCK IS ‘WE?’

    It’s government, in her mind.

    But fipronil is already illegal in the application cited. Poor Lucy. Her precious government has banned a specific application of a pesticide – for precious Lucy’s protection – and it didn’t work, it still got into her eggs!!!

    Brown shirts to the coups !!!

    Does each UK farmer have a brown shirt assigned to them to watch them to make sure they don’t put any fipronil on the chicken feed? How exactly would domestic/local only keep the fipronil out?

    ‘Egg recalls in the US are not that uncommon ‘

    Yes they are. A cheesy, non specific assertion.

    Does that sign say ‘stop onnooice vergassing?’

    Hard to get behind that.

  6. The Guardian uncritically praises all things EU. But these eggs came from the Netherlands. So?

    P.S. To refer to UK/NL trade as “globalised” is just lying, isn’t it?

  7. ‘This one exposes egg production centred in the Netherlands (global leaders in egg exports), where 40,000 to 50,000 birds per farm seem to have been treated by cleaning contractors with a delousing chemical that allegedly contained the offending pesticide. The more densely chickens are packed, the more susceptible they are to lice and fleas, which explains the delousing.’

    Cleaning the coups effectively is orders of magnitude more important to Lucy’s health than any fipronil.

    ‘We’re being told not to worry because levels of concentrations of fipronil per egg are not concerning to some toxicologists. But that doesn’t address the cumulative impact of eating many eggs or the fact that affected eggs that could have been in the supply chain for a number of months have made their way into processed products, most obviously cakes and pasta.’

    Unnamed toxicologists. But wait, they don’t matter, cos she knows more than them! Toxicologists don’t know about cakes and pasta, OH MY!

  8. Do British experts have names?

    It seems the Guardian never prints the names of their cited “experts,” as if they don’t even have names.

    It’s more than just lazy journalism. It’s propaganda. By citing unnamed experts, the Guardian can make any damn assertion they want to, knowing they won’t be challenged.

  9. News just in: counties bordering London decline to give up nice jobs to become serfs for ignorant fucking middle class wankers in North London. Guardian writes sniffy article about the rise of the “alt-Right” in counties bordering London.

  10. Answer to question 2.
    Probably in the medieval warm period.
    So nothing wrong with this global warming then.

  11. bif,

    Nah, it didn’t exist, Michael Mann decreed it so:

    No, the “insight” of the hockey stick analysis was the handle — the fact that until 1900, Mann was essentially claiming that temperatures had been 1) dead flat with limited variation and 2) consistently well below current temperatures. Prior to Mann’s analysis, most scientists had a picture of past climate that had a warm period from 1000-1300 that was perhaps as warm as it is today followed by a cold period (called the medieval warm period and the little ice age).

  12. Is there a time series available for average household spend on food as a proportion of income? Has that proportion ever been lower in the developed world than today?

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