Posts Tagged ‘scandal’

swedish meat and philosophy in the news again

January 16, 2008

One might have thought that one big meat splash was enough. The following could have been a typical December 6 speech by any Swedish supermarket manager to their employees:

“Okay, guys, you’ve all seen the last news about Our Way of meat packaging. We don’t want to be caught red-handed like those bunglers in Stockholm. New rules: the meat department plays clean at all costs, the obligatory cut-corner policy is instead transferred to cheese, grains and vegetables, evaluation after a trial period of a month, there’s a good staff.”

Not so. (more…)


new fad: freshness laments

January 3, 2008

Tight on the heels of the recent Swedish hamburger-beef outrage, a series of articles about the health risks of the traditional julbord, the Christmas dinner, appeared in the Swedish press. We were informed that this large assortment of ham, meatballs, revived dried fish, pickled herring, smoked goods of various sorts, rice pudding and other mostly preserved foods (what else was there to eat in the middle of the winter in Old Sweden…) is a breeding ground for all kinds of greedy bugs, especially when displayed buffet-style and kept alive by replenishing what’s empty (as opposed to replacing the dishes that have been standing out longest). Such warnings can be helpful. Some of the restaurants might get more cautious, and some of the guests will perhaps stay away from that ominous bowl of sagging Ris à la Malta (which once long ago was called riz à l’amande), and other julbord items that may have had a lukewarm feast of their own in an unobserved corner.

The surviving food journalists are now beginning to post Christmas Dinner recaps. (more…)

at last: meat scandal in sweden

December 5, 2007

5 December 2007, 11:00 p.m. Since one hour ago, we finally have our own official Swedish meat scandal. We had to wait for a long time. Europe’s cows have been mad for decades, and a year ago, Germany had its rotten meat widely publicized. Meanwhile, the Swedish customer kept cheerfully choosing between neatly labelled packages of beef from Brazil, lamb from New Zealand, pork from Denmark, entrecotes from Ireland, moose from the backyard, and of course, the holy and impeccable Swedish Assorted Meats.

On all meat sold in Sweden, the country of origin must be indicated as well as the day of packaging; it needs to be indicated whether the meat has been frozen before being put on display; there is a best-before date printed in letters big enough to see without reading glasses, and fresh minced meat is sold with an extra indication “ground today.” The meat is, as it were, wrapped in trustworthiness.

Today everything crumbled to bits. The big Swedish TV scandal-revelation-show Uppdrag Granskning had been secretly filming in four of the biggest and best-selling supermarkets of the ubiquitous ICA chain which, for the identity of the Swedish soul, is equivalent to Saab, Volvo and the Dala-horse put together and transformed into food sincerity and quality. What they filmed: old meat of various kinds being taken out of its packages and ground into hamburger meat. Meat from other countries re-labelled as Swedish. A chunk of meat dropped on the floor and put into a new package. And again and again old meat repackaged and re-labelled with a new best-before date as a matter of routine. Former co-workers admitting “yeah that’s the usual practice, we learn it on the first day.” The shop owners, confronted with the material, in grudging remorse. One was almost crying, as in “I am proud of my shop, but I am soo crushed that we’re crooks.” The highest ICA quality boss in open outrage. It was a sinister feast of glee for someone who just had Hassan’s excellent Zander, braised fennel with parmesan cheese and pilaf of red quinoa.

Now, what do I do with those sausages in the freezer?