17/04/17 - RADIO: You & Yours: Organic Food (45 mins) The organic sector accounts for 1.4 percent of the UK food and drink market, according to the National Farmers Union. At the moment a lot of the organic food grown in this country is imported - so the NFU says this could represent an opportunity for UK producers. The market's also been growing for the past five years. The Soil Association says total sales of organic products increased by 7.1% in 2016 while non-organic sales continued to decline. We look at why that is, and investigate whether organic food is really any healthier. We also visit Denmark. Half the Danish population buy organic products at least once a week and it accounts for 8.4% of all food and drink sales. What's driving that growth, and what, if anything, can the UK learn from it.
27/03/17 - RADIO: Food Programme: Chef Dan Barber: The Third Plate (28 mins) Dan Saladino profiles the influential US chef and writer Dan Barber, author of 'The Third Plate - Field Notes on the Future of Food'. Originally with plans to become a novelist, Dan Barber opened his first restaurant, Blue Hill, in Greenwich Village in 2000 followed by Blue Hill at Stone Barns in 2004. He had early success as a 'farm to table' chef, but has since been on a journey, documented in his book but still ongoing, to reimagine the relationships between chef and farmer, landscape and deliciousness - and much more. Citing flavour as a 'soothsayer', and a passionate advocate of the role of the chef in bringing about change in the wider world beyond the walls of the restaurant, he is currently in the UK with a project called 'WastED London' - an unusual temporary restaurant taking aim at the problem of food 'waste'.
16/02/17 - Samba drums up opposition to factory farming A musical protest at the Rio carnival will stress the damaging impacts of the use of pesticides and the destruction of the rainforest on global warming and the Amazon’s indigenous Xingu population whose reserve is now completely surrounded by cattle and soy fields. The musical protest has aroused a furious response from the agribusiness lobby, which has accused the sambistas of denigrating their efforts to feed the population. But the samba school’s concern is echoed in a report from GRAIN that spells out the negative consequences of industrial food production, both on the environment and on people’s health.
16/01/17 - 5 reasons you’ll never find real sourdough bread at the supermarket Supermarket ‘sourdough’ is a con (hear, hear Joanna Blythman). With only three ingredients — flour, water, salt — real sourdough bread is plain and simple, just how bread should be. And yet, we’re living in a time when the bread we buy has never been more complicated. The increase in sales of the tangy, complex-flavoured, actually-fills-you-up sourdough stuff made by artisans up and down the country has prompted supermarkets and industrial bakers to produce their own versions. However, what they don’t mention, is that these versions are fake. Consumers are duped into thinking the word ‘sourdough’ on a label means they’re buying the real thing, not realising that these loaves are far from it, and can come with some potential serious health consequences too.
22/11/16 - Higher food prices will lower emissions If we are serious about cutting back on emissions of greenhouse gases, we have to be prepared for big hikes in the price of food. Making food more expensive is a key way of bringing down the output of climate-changing carbon emissions, says a new study by UK and US academics. In line with the findings of the research, the cost of beef around the world would go up by an average of 40%, while chicken, pork, milk and vegetable prices would rise by around 20%.
02/11/16 - Waitrose becomes first retailer to use 'responsibly' sourced European soya in animal feed Waitrose has received its first shipment of soya grown in the Danube region of Europe as it attempts to bring its supply chain closer to home. The move, announced at the Waitrose Farming Partnership’s annual conference at Telford, was intended to reduce its reliance on South American supply as demand from the developing world increases. Eleven per cent of the raw materials Waitrose uses for feed is soya, with 3 per cent of this GM. Rob Collins, Waitrose managing director, said: “Everyone knows the difficulty of sourcing soya from South America. It fits perfectly into our strategy to improve our supply chain security by sourcing animal feed from raw materials grown at home or within the UK and Europe.”
27/06/16 - RADIO: Start the Week: Food: From Bread Riots to Obesity (43 mins) On Start the Week Andrew Marr explores food and politics. Churchill charged Lord Woolton with the daunting task of feeding Britain during WW2. The food writer William Sitwell looks at the black markets and shop raids Woolton had to battle as the country teetered on the edge of anarchy. Shirley Williams was the country's first Secretary of State for Prices, tackling rising inflation in the 1970s by setting the official price of bread. Economist Jane Harrigan argues that it was rising food prices that sowed the seeds for the Arab Spring Uprisings, and food historian Bee Wilson asks what governments can do now to control what we eat.11/05/16 - The gangsters on England's doorstep In the bleak flatlands of East Anglia, migrant workers are controlled by criminal gangs, and some are forced to commit crimes to pay off their debts. This is what happens when cheap labour is our only priority by Felicity Lawrence
18/10/15 - RADIO: The Food Programme: A Milk Appreciation (28 mins) When was the last time you drank a simple glass of milk? Perhaps you view it more as an ingredient for cooking or to splash in your tea rather than a product of beauty with its own strengths and qualities? When the retailers slashed milk prices to lure in customers, treating it as a loss leader may have made the consumer also view it as a commodity and devalue it too. Is it simply the 'white stuff'? [Includes review of guernsey milk from Nell's Dairy at Stow-on-the-Wold which is locally available from vending machines at Burford Garden Centre, Kingham Plough, and Cotswold Farm Park.]
04/10/15 - RADIO: The Food Programme: Bitterness (28 mins) Dan Saladino hunts down that flavour we call 'bitter', and asks if bitterness is disappearing from our food and drink - and why this matters. Bitter tastes are found all over the planet; wild leaves, fruits, vegetables and more. Bitterness is also charged with cultural and culinary meaning. It can be revered, sought after - but it is also a sign of toxicity, and is, it seems, increasingly being shunned.
10/09/15 - RADIO: The Report: The Ambridge Price of Milk (28 mins) What has The Archers got to do with the price of milk? Lesley Curwen looks at the present crisis in dairy farming through the prism of the long-running Radio 4 soap opera, "The Archers" and talks to the man behind the agricultural storyline, Graham Harvey. Along with archive from the drama and interviews with today's farmers, she looks at the milk industry and its increasing exposure to volatile global markets.
08/09/15 - RADIO: File on 4: The Cost of a Cuppa (28 mins) Tea is still the UK's favourite drink - but what's the human cost of a cuppa? In the first of a new series of File on 4, Jane Deith reports from Assam on the plight of workers on tea plantations which help supply some of Britain's best known brands. India is one of the largest tea producers in the world with an industry worth billions of pounds - but critics say pickers often have to endure long working hours and insanitary conditions, leading to poor health and high levels of maternal and infant mortality.
02/09/15 - RADIO: Future Proofing: Food (43 Mins) With a predicted two billion extra mouths to feed by 2050 and a rapidly rising obesity problem in many richer countries, the world faces a 21st century food crisis which combines the threats of starvation and ill health from over-eating at the same time. FutureProofing examines possible responses to these twin problems: change in the way food is produced, and change in the way we think about food and its place in our lives, could significantly alter what we eat in the decades to come. Visiting Italy, the programme finds what solutions are on offer at the huge Expo 2015, as countries from across the world present their ideas for the future of food.
29/07/15 - New Scientist: Bitter truth: How we’re making fruit and veg less healthy. In an effort to cater to our sweet tooth, food producers are making fruit and veg taste less bitter. The trouble is, that's making them worse for us.
22/03/15 - RADIO: The Food Programme: Food Waste Pioneers (28 mins) Dan Saladino hears three stories of how three very different individuals are reimagining food waste - solving problems, discovering flavours, and changing lives. In rural Zimbabwe, through the power of mushrooms - Chido Govera has become an acknowledged specialist in growing edible fungi using food and agri-waste. Isabel Soares, an engineer from Portugal, set up Fruta Feia (or ugly fruit) to deliver perfectly good fruit and veg that were being discarded by the big retailers, to a willing community. Its community co-operative model is now wildly successful in Lisbon. John Greany Sørensen is a scientist by day, chef by night, who in his lab at the University of Copenhagen stumbled accidentally on a way of creating something truly extraordinary from rejected vegetables - veg crystals.
01/02/15 - RADIO: The Food Programme: The Grain Divide (26 mins) Wheat has, since the dawn of agriculture, been especially treasured amongst all of the food crops, and is now the most widely cultivated food plant on the planet. However, the relationship between humans and wheat has changed a great deal in recent times. With a high-profile documentary film, 'The Grain Divide', about to go on global release, Dan Saladino discovers a worldwide movement of farmers, bakers and breeders rethinking and rediscovering wheat - from long-lost varieties and flavours to re-imagining the future of our relationship with this grain.
The Grain Divide documentary features some of the world’s top chef’s, bakers and food thought leaders in their domain. We take you inside the farms, kitchens, bakeries and labs at the forefront of the rebuilding of the foundation of our food.
12/11/14 - Living with GMOs - A Letter from America An open letter to the citizens, politicians, and regulators of the UK and the rest of the EU about the hazards of genetically modified crops. A huge digital ad was also displayed in London's Waterloo station which warned us to 'Reject GMOs', and played nearly 1000 times over the course of the day. You can email any concerns to your MP through the site coordinated by Beyond GM, who say: 'This is relevant to all of us in the UK and the rest of Europe because our politicians and regulators are currently deciding whether or not to plant GMOs and, under pressure from biotech lobbyists and trade negotiations like the TAFTA/TTIP, whether to relax regulations around the import and sale of GMOs.'
GMO OMG director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers. How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice? And perhaps the ultimate question, which Seifert tests himself: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t gain back? These and other questions take Seifert on a journey from his family’s table to Haiti, Paris, Norway, and the lobby of agra-giant Monsanto, from which he is unceremoniously ejected. Along the way we gain insight into a question that is of growing concern to citizens the world over: what's on your plate?
- Where to buy non-GM fed animal products in UK
- Get hidden GM out of your trolley
- GM products are creeping into our shops
- GM cooking oil: What's in your chips?
23/07/14 - Inglorious vegetables - a glorious fight against food waste Each year, we throw over 300 million tons of fruits and vegetables away worldwide. Why? Mainly because of their aspect (57%). As the European Union made 2014 the European year against food waste, Intermarché the 3rd largest supermarkets chain in France, decided to try and change their customers perceptions to encourage better behaviours towards the non-calibrated fruits and vegetables. Intermarché made every effort to celebrate these “inglorious fruits and vegetables” the way they deserve to be celebrated. They got their own print and film campaign, their own local poster and radio campaign, their own in-store branding, their own aisle in store, their own labelling, and their own spots on the sale receipt. Finally, for people to realize that they were just as good as the others, Intermarché designed and distributed inglorious vegetables soups and inglorious fruit juices in stores. For the very first time, a supermarket decided to change the way the system works. Intermarché bought from its growers the products they usually throw away, and sold them in stores just like any others, but 30% cheaper to make it attractive to its consumers
16/06/14 - Changing What We Eat published by Food Climate Research Network, part of the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. Eating habits must change to protect people and planet - research is now needed in three key areas: 1.What are healthy sustainable eating patterns? 2. How do we eat now, why, and what are the health and sustainability implications? 3. How do we achieve positive change?
- Lower environmental impact eating patterns (measured by GHG emissions and land use) are centred on a diverse range of minimally processed tubers, whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, with animal products eaten sparingly.
- In high income countries, agricultural production accounts for about 50% of food-related GHG emissions. The remaining 50% is caused by the manufacture, transport, retailing, cooking and refrigeration of foods.
- 30 - 50% of all food produced globally is wasted. This undermines food security, represents a waste of land, water and other inputs, as well as causing the generation of unnecessary emissions.
- In regions such as Europe, Australia and the United States, per capita consumption of animal products, is typically very high but is broadly static. Per capita intakes in the emerging economies of Brazil, India and China, tend to be about 30-50% lower than in high income regions but are rising rapidly. Most of the growth in global demand for animal products will come from these growing populations and economies.
30/05/14 - These 10 Countries Lead the World in Childhood Obesity A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that overweight kids are a global problem. The report ties the increase in kids’ weight to the global economic collapse. With rising unemployment, government cutbacks, and strapped household budgets, families can’t afford healthy food options and, instead of eating traditional foods, they eat processed and packaged foods.
15/05/14 - VIDEO: Palm Reading: Debating the Future of Palm Oil (34 mins) Palm oil, which comes from the fruit of oil palm trees, shows up on nearly every supermarket shelf. It’s also one of the main reasons for massive rainforest destruction in some of the most wildlife-rich places on Earth. At the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) on May 15th, Earthwatch sponsored an expert panel discussion to address how we can conserve rainforests as the demand for palm oil booms.
21/04/14 - Asparagus – draining Peru dry Asparagus from Peru and Mexico can be found in supermarkets as early as February, costing around £2 per bunch. You will only find British asparagus from April to June, at more than twice the price. Until recently, Peruvian asparagus dominated the global market, devaluing British produce. But what’s the true cost of this South American success?
05/03/14 - Buglife launches a manifesto for pollinators Buglife, the only European charity that looks after all pollinators has launched ‘Get Britain Buzzing’ a 7 point manifesto to arrest the worrying decline in pollinator species across the UK and to enhance habitats, enabling a re-buzzing of the land. One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on insect pollination. Pollination enables plants to fruit and set seed. Bees, hoverflies and other insects visiting flowers, create apples, raspberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, pears, almonds, elderberries, cherries, blackberries…. and the flowers in our gardens and countryside. It is estimated that 84% of EU crops (valued at £12.6 billion per year) and 80% of wildflowers rely on insect pollination.
02/12/13 - Oxford: Sustainable Food City? A new sustainable food network for Oxford will bring together business big and small, local government, community organisations, health professionals, academics and other stakeholders to work together towards a fairer, healthier and more sustainable food system in and around Oxford. The initiative will be part of a UK-wide network of Sustainable Food Cities led by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain, and supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
21/08/13 - Pesticides, food price rises, and national honey bee day The week in bees: new pesticide labels will better protect bees, and why honey bee deaths might cause food prices to rise.
05/06/13 -'Badger-friendly' milk to be sold in just three UK supermarkets Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Asda say they will not sell milk that has come from dairy farms inside cull zones.
24/05/13 - VIDEO: How horsemeat scandal company used migrant workers to boost production (5 mins) Felicity Lawrence visits a Dutch meat processing plant alleged to have supplied horsemeat labelled as beef to outlets in several European countries, from where it entered the human food chain. The Polish workforce at the meat factory was alleged to have been underpaid and living in sub-standard conditions before the plant closed following a raid by Dutch authorities.
21/05/13 - RADIO: The Life Scientific - Lord John Krebs (28 mins) After five years as Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, John Krebs became the first Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, where he was embroiled in controversial questions such as is organic food better for us and how can the spread of foot and mouth disease be stopped. Lord Krebs is now Master of Jesus College, Oxford, but is still involved in issues where science meets public policy, in particular the debate over whether culling badgers will prevent cattle contracting TB.
12/04/13 - Sainsbury’s, M&S and the Co-op follow Tesco's lead on GM feed Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and The Co-operative Group will begin allowing their suppliers to use GM feed for poultry, following Tesco’s announcement on Thursday.
26/03/13 - VIDEO: Evidence of expert witnesses presented to UK Select Committee on Food Security (2 hours)
15/03/13 - UK government's opposition to regulation is putting bees at risk Caroline Lucas - By failing to back EU proposals for a ban on pesticides, lawmakers have prioritised commercial interests over ecological wellbeing.
28/02/13 - Put farming for nature at the top of the agenda Restoring a healthy natural environment, with pollinating insects, clean water and good soils, is crucial for food production now and in the future.
25/11/12 - Miche Fabre Lewin urges us to reconnect with the Earth by re-membering and salvaging the rituals, practices and wisdoms that come with preparing and enjoying vital, seasonal food grown locally.
07/02/11 - VIDEO: Spain's salad growers are modern-day slaves, say charities (13 mins) Guardian investigation uncovers plight of migrant workers who live in appalling conditions and are paid half of legal minimum wage.
15/09/10 - The UK is the world's sixth largest importer of "virtual water", that is water needed to produce the goods it buys from other countries, according to WWF. Much of the UK's thirst is directly related to the boom in high-value food imports in recent years. The market in fresh asparagus is typical; it barely existed before the end of the 1990s. Now the UK is the third largest importer of fresh Peruvian asparagus, consuming 6.5 million kilos a year.
13/10/09 - Killing fields: the true cost of Europe's cheap meat Cheap meat has become a way of life in much of Europe, but the full price is being paid across Latin America as vast soya plantations and their attendant chemicals lead to poisonings and violence. Much of the cheap meat and dairy produce sold in supermarkets across Europe is arriving as a result of serious human rights abuses and environmental damage in one of Latin America's most impoverished countries, according to a new film launched in conjunction with the Ecologist Film Unit.
TV: Channel 4 Food Unwrapped Explores how our food is really made and the industry secrets behind our favourite produce. Reporters travel the globe to discover just how the food we love is mass produced. The series contacts supermarkets and producers with simple questions about the food we buy: What's the wax on my lemons?; What are the bacteria in my Probiotics?; What is formed ham? They visit the food producers who supply the supermarkets, they travel from Liverpool to Swaziland, and Thailand to Spain to reveal weird and wonderful facts we never knew about our food.
TV: Channel 4 What Goes in your Basket? What really goes in your mouth? Food tells viewers everything they need to know about the food they buy in their local supermarket and where it comes from. Food critic Jay Rayner and cookery writer Ravinder Bhogal examine the truth behind British food production to challenge and inform consumers and the UK's food suppliers, and encourage new ways of supplying and shopping for food. In each show, filmed on Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire, an invited audience become taste testers, trying out different products. In addition the series features a Rotting Room where the daily decay of food is closely monitored and examined. Plus there are best practice guides on how to store foods to ensure they stay fresh for longer.
TV: Channel 4 Take Away My Takeaway Dave Berry surprises teenagers as they wait for their takeaway to be delivered. In a bid to offer them nutritional education, they are flown off to the country where their favourite food originates.
TV: Channel 4 Jimmy and the Giant Supermarket With food prices on the rise and consumers feeling the pinch, can shoppers still afford to care about where the food they put on the table every day comes from? Rare breed pig farmer Jimmy Doherty has a dream to make free range food affordable for everyone. So he's challenged Britain's biggest supermarket, Tesco, to let him prove he can do it, and they've agreed. Animal welfare standards might have come a long way in the UK, but most of the country's chickens are still reared intensively, 60% of pigs still spend their whole lives in sheds, and tens of thousands of dairy calves are needlessly slaughtered each year because it's too expensive to rear them. Jimmy's taking on three of Tesco's best-selling own brand products and will work with the company to try and make higher-welfare versions for the same affordable price. If he's successful, they'll launch them in their stores.
TV: BBC Blood, Sweat and Takeaways (clips) Six young British food consumers go to live and work alongside the workers in south east Asian food industries.
TV: BBC Food Factory (clips) Science series in which food writer Stefan Gates asks what really goes into supermarket food.
TV: BBC Jimmy's Food Factory (clips) Science series in which farmer Jimmy Doherty asks what really goes into supermarket food.
TV: BBC Britain's Really Disgusting Food (clips) Alex Riley, BBC's connoisseur of rubbish food, goes in search of more disgusting fare.
TV: BBC Kill It, Cook It, Eat It Julia Bradbury follows the journey of animals from the pasture to the plate.