UK producers

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UK producers

Postby quietwatersfarm » Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:16 pm

Hi all,

As part of my work with 'the salt cured pig' I am looking at adding farmers, producers and suppliers etc of UK cured meat products to a global interactive map that is being worked up and will allow people to network for product, help and sourcing of high welfare, naturally reared pork, high quality cured meats (that have due respect for traditional methods and craft) and those selling such things here.

All sound simple enough....

BUT, when we start looking at things and trying to apply some basic criteria it becomes anything but simple!

So many producers now advertise 'no nitrates', 'no curing agents' 'done the traditional way with just salt and air' or even 'we dont even have a curing chamber- we do it the traditional way'!!

I obviously dont want to include unsafe products or unsafe producers so have had to ask how, for example, the botulism controls are maintained instead.

Replies are a bit mixed...some seem to think that a load of old flannel will do (assuming they are speaking to a tele-marketing bod or something) others genuinely dont seem to know. Both of which leave me wondering how these guys are even lawfully in business, selling product.

Anyone have any thoughts on all of this?

PS anyone here that wants including please let me know a bit about your approach and product and I will gladly see about getting you on the map :)
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Re: UK producers

Postby wheels » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:05 pm

Phew, what a minefield. IMO opinion even some of the major artisanal players seem to play 'fast and loose' with safety, often on the basis that they 'studied' with a French/Italian/Spanish producer and do it their way. It makes you wonder how long of them 'really' spent doing it.

The thing is, "'no nitrates', 'no curing agents' 'done the traditional way with just salt and air' or even 'we don't even have a curing chamber- we do it the traditional way' is what much of 'Joe Public' say they want. I'm guessing that only a 'high profile' case of botulism will change that.
Another problem is that we don't have the EHO staff that have the experience or resources to know whether businesses are using safe methods. Last year, a number of Local Authority areas didn't do any routine sampling.

If you define standards, it will be very difficult as you'll need different criteria for different classes of product. Whose standards do you use? For example, do animals have to be free-range? And, if so, by what definition of free-range? Even if you do this, you may just end up with the producers that are best at paperwork, rather than the safest!

You say it's a global map, in which case, are standards being applied on a country by country basis? For example, I'm aware of a US business closing because the inspectors insisted on the use of nitrites, whereas the standards here are (obviously) lower.

All-in-all it's a real minefield and it begs the question as to whether it's worth policing it.

Damn, that all sounds so negative, yet I'm really enthusiastic about what you're trying to do. If I can help in any way, just shout.

Phil
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Re: UK producers

Postby quietwatersfarm » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:18 pm

Thanks Phil! I know exactly what you mean.

Luckily we are an entirely undemocratic, unaccountable and opinionated bunch so things are a little simpler than they would otherwise be!! :)

I raised the fact that the UK is different from the US scene both in terms of regs (with county, state, USDA) and also markets/production methods etc (CAFO's not such a big thing here in many ways)

We are also within a culturally distinct position that Kate Hill in France and Paolo in Italy (my co Euro admins)

I am therefore able to apply a 'in the spirit of the craft' principle that revolves around genuine attempts to do good things.

I want to see outdoor grown pigs, ideally of traditional heritage.
I want to see small scale production of high quality goods using ingredients that are true to the traditions of honest food rather than tonnes of additives.
I want to see due regard for safety too.

What has been the biggest problem so far is all the marketing BS that I mentioned above - mainly because it raises the issue of a) these people genuinely dont know what they are doing or b) they do and are just fobbing the public off with a load of flannel. Both are an issue for me, regardless of the quality or provenance of the product.

If you have any thoughts or recommendations please let me know

John
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Re: UK producers

Postby ped » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:12 pm

Unfortunately Phil when that high profile botulism case occurs safe producers will be tarred with the same brush so it will affect general perceptions of Salumi.
I have recently been speaking with the local EHO and he has been very helpful but was very clear about what will be required to produce an acceptably safe product for the public, and that includes NO2&3.
Celeb chefs & Pig farmers making salt only stuff, Oppo's of well known Devon cooks writing books about making things the 'old school' way and Cornish smallholders who do the same won't help matters either, oh and I didn't really get a clear answer from this guy either (see the 'Salami' description!): http://www.franconian.co.uk/images/imag ... mi-big.jpg

That being said, it would be great to connect with like minded farmers/producers in the UK. They seem to have a very good farmer to Artisan Salumi producer network over in the US.
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Re: UK producers

Postby wheels » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:42 pm

It sounds like you've got an EHO who takes an interest.

Franconian wrote:Franconian Salami is made the traditional way as it used to be done thousands of years ago - Air Dried and free of all nitrate and nitrite salts, this is a pure Salami for pure Salami lovers!


http://www.franconian.co.uk/index.php/o ... cts#salami

Taking these people as an example: list or not? To examine their supply chain and processes would be very difficult. That is, if you accept that their product is safe... ...and if you don't? Given that the Local Authority obviously does; well, that opens a whole new can of worms.

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Re: UK producers

Postby ped » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:52 pm

Certainly not niche artisan! there pigs come from Suffolk somewhere and are Red Tractor certified. Horses for Courses and I''m not suggesting they would be on the list but it just shows that even if you produce on a larger scale the opportunity to not use cures is still there.

Fortunately the EHO comes from a Butchery background so understood what I am trying to achieve.
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Re: UK producers

Postby quietwatersfarm » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:22 pm

Guys, you are hitting the same nail on the head.

There is so much odd language in these things.

I already have a lot of people who assumed, perhaps reasonably, they would be front and centre on our map for the UK - sorry, just not clear what their true approach is, how its certified and why, if it is, they are not just straight about it as part of the education process (maybe by explaining that the garnish in their pictures probably has more nitrate in it than the salumi!)...

and that neither present a threat to their health, whereas not having it in the cured meats, well....
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Re: UK producers

Postby quietwatersfarm » Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:27 pm

ped wrote:Celeb chefs & Pig farmers making salt only stuff, Oppo's of well known Devon cooks writing books about making things the 'old school' way and Cornish smallholders who do the same won't help matters either


Think I know the first two - PM to fill me on on the others if they are specific references?

ped wrote:That being said, it would be great to connect with like minded farmers/producers in the UK.


Lets talk about it Peter :)
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