Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Unsafe to eat

This afternoon, at the charcuterie counter in a local supermarket, I was intrigued by the behavior of a young female client who wished to purchase a few slices of ham. She was lecturing the employee.

CLIENT: I’m counting on you to give me good-quality ham, not the nasty stuff with mixed-up DNA.

The employee was just as bewildered as I was. What was this allusion to “mixed-up DNA” ? A few extra words from the client informed me immediately what it was all about. She referred to a TV show, last night, on the subject of ham, and the dangers of certain categories of products. I had started to watch it, but I was too depressed to persevere to the end of the program… so I missed out about the “mixed-up DNA”, and can only guess what ugly facts had been divulged. But I stepped into the conversation.

WILLIAM: Did you watch the show on disgusting fish, a week ago? Personally, I’ve decided to cease eating salmon.

EMPLOYEE: I always say to myself that, if we took account of everything we see on TV, we would be afraid to eat anything at all.

By that time, two other clients joined in our conversation. All of us (except the naive supermarket employee) seemed to have seen the two TV shows: the first one on dangerous fish products, and the second one on ham. And it was clear that we were all impressed, to a certain extent, by what we had learned about the dangers of certain everyday foodstuffs.

WILLIAM: It's amazing that four random clients such as us have all been influenced by these TV shows. We should form a club, to talk together about these dangers.

CLIENT: I agree wholeheartedly, Monsieur. Please create such a club, and I’ll be the first to join.

It’s clear, in any case, that French TV is doing a fine job of making consumers aware of various unwholesome food facts. It would indeed be an excellent idea to create some kind of consumers’ club within the context of our local supermarkets (if it hasn’t been done already), but I’m not exactly the right man in the right place for such a project. On the other hand, I do intend to explore our local trout-hatchery situation, if possible, to see if everything’s as limpid as the icy water in a mountain stream.

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