Food Provenance (Part 3) - Distributors
Often today taken for granted, we have access to foods from around the world which otherwise our family generations before us would never had the chance to experience. With the increasing closeness of other cultures through the increased ease of travel, as consumers we have grown a taste for foods which don’t necessarily grow within our home nations. This is not to say we are at fault for this as food exploration is a great thing and one of the fascinations we have in enjoying life is to experience other peoples culture including the food. Saying this, with this privilege we do have a responsibility to question the supply of our food, if not for often the sake of the supplier, sometimes for ourselves.
Led by some of the conglomerate food retailers it became apparent during the release of the horsemeat scandal that so many of us could be kept completely in the dark about how are food was made and where it was sourced. This has sparked an interest in consumers to understand the wider implications on what could otherwise be hidden in the supply chain that distributors govern. Some of the issues considered include:
Throughout history whenever food transportation has been involved, the risk has been during travel that food could be infected or diseased. Even with the invention of refrigeration, some risk must still remain around the unassured provenance of our food and whether the farmers maintain the rigorous health and safety we might and do the distributors truly govern this.
Often hidden to the consumer is the true provenance of food we buy and how far it has travelled. By consuming food we do immediately involve ourselves in a large system that operates on a global level responsible for its impact on the environment and to ensure that the current distribution methods are sustainable.
Assurance of the product
Some controversy remains over whether food distributors should carry any responsibility for the supply of horsemeat to retailers to use in food which we were unaware. A lesson to all consumers was learnt there when how can we truly know (if we are not close to the source) where our food as come from?
City Pantry vendor Le Coq ensure when going to suppliers that the quality of their produce i.e chicken, is supplied at the highest quality as distributors often can offer levels of quality produce to be supplied.
I think it is fair to say more consumers are aware of the importance of making the supply chain more sustainable and more ‘open’ so we can truly be aware of the impact of our food purchasing as well as truly knowing what we’re buying.