Fail food Marks and Spencer Uncategorized

@MarksandSpencer Animal Welfare standards #fail

Last week we were returning from a family get together and popped into a Marks and Spencer food hall. Paying a bit more attention to the ham and bacon, we realised that the “M&S assured” statement on the pork products did not actually have a clear statement of what the assurance was about.

So we asked. The shopfloor staff did not know, so they called the manager. He did not know. He asserted that the farms used were government assured and therefore he did not know what that involved as it was not M&S policy. This was clearly inappropriate as the labels clearly stated \”M&S Assured Farm/Pork\”. Besides, even if it were just government policies, it would be useful to know what it meant.

So I used the feedback form on M&S\’s website to ask this (with a pre-amble not reproduced here):
\”We are anxious to determine whether the standards that M&S use take into consideration the welfare of the animal, or just the animal products after slaughter. Either way your staff SHOULD know what the ruddy labelling means.\”

The answer came through:

Thank you for contacting us about our M&S assured farm pork.

As you may be aware, animal welfare is a very high priority for Marks & Spencer and we pride ourselves on our high standards and quality of our animal products and suppliers.

We are continually receiving feedback concerning this area and please be assured that your comments are important to us and will be passed to our Animal Welfare and Ethical Trading Team who are responsible for the progression of this aspect of our company. They will be very interested in your comments and look at how this can be implemented in to their future planning and carefully consider the points you have raised.

We do have a large amount of information regarding our welfare standards, product sourcing, and food policies on the Marks & Spencer website under the section entitled \’About our food\’, just go to our website at

I hope this information helps and thank you for taking the time to get in touch.

Please be aware that this email has been sent from a ‘no reply’ email address.

If we can help you any further, please contact us via our website. You can do this by clicking the following link and selecting \’in store service and feedback\’:

Alternatively, you can call us on 0845 302 1234 where we will be happy to assist you further.

Kind Regards

As a search on M&S’s website failed to get a hit on welfare standards, my reply went thus:

This was your answer about pork welfare standards.

You\’ll notice that it doesn\’t actually tell me either:
a) what the standard is
b) where the standard is to be found on your website (i have tried)
c) how the standard compares with RSPCA freedom food

A search for Welfare Standards on your website produces 0 results.

Care to try again?

food Uncategorized

Valentine Warners wonderful recipe.

Slice left over new potatoes

Fry in oil/butter until golden and crisp.

Toss slices in a finely chopped rosemary/garlic/salt crystals mix.

Turn out, put fried egg on top

Dust with smoked paprika.


Thanks Valentine!!!

food Uncategorized

New organic food investigation

OK, so generally speaking the nutritional content of an organic X is not much different from \’normal\’ (but I prefer to think of as toxic) X. But did they (the people the UK FSA who commissioned the report) want to consider and report on:
* the long term impact of pesticide and other spray residues?

* a taste test (organic chicken and pork are particularly good)

* the treatment of \’normal\’ food
water injected into chicken and pork
the appallingly cruel treatment of barn chickens
milk from cows that never leave the barn
beef cattle and chicken fed prophylactic antibiotics
Salad washed with strong chemical to clean them
Citrus fruit waxed and treated with stuff you should not eat and have to remove
Apples that should be peeled before eating becuase the skin is poisoned

With all the non-natural content in the food chain is it any wonder that asthma, allergies, childhood illnesses and so on have increased since the war and the industrialisation of the food chain.

As for GMO, don\’t get me started…

food Uncategorized

Dinner time

The treehouse restaurant at Alnwick. And very good food it was too. Shame no-one knew about the chicken and whether it was free-range or not.

No self respecting restauranteur or chef should be ignorant of their food sources (IMHO)

food Uncategorized

What is it with Italian coffee shops in the UK?

The look is good, the sound is good, the faux accents are good, the food is (generally) good.

But the coffee – overheated, scorched, mouth burning and weak to boot. I can do far better at home.

The chains may cost more, use inferior coffee beans, but their baristas can generally get the temperature right…

food King Crimson Pimms Uncategorized

I hope I have started a trend

Whilst in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia today (top 7 urban space! – more later) I visited a lovely tea room (The Garden Café I think) – it\’s down the hill from the stations, and well worth a visit.
Pam, the owner, is not trying to compete with the coffee stores (Starbucks is there, and Borders has a Seattle franchise). So tea is the order of the day. I went there for some water to cool down in the 91°F heat.
After leaving I realised that a) I\’d not seen Pimms on this trip (except a largely unused bottle in a bar where they serve it neat); and b) I really wanted some to refresh me.
So I went back for a cup of assam tea :-).
We discussed liquor licencing (sic) and $100,000 ought to cover a licence (ouch), but free samples are OK.
So I told Pam about the English Pimms types (No 1, 3, 6 cups) and how we drink it and how wonderfully refreshing it is. She loved the idea. So she might well use it in a promotion event as an \”English\” thing.
I do hope I return to Philly in a few years to find afternoon Pimms in the heat is fashionable!!

food Uncategorized

I thought I found heaven!

I'm away training and stopped in a smart Oxfordshire town between my course and my small village pub B&B. Town's only \”organic gastropub\”. Magnificent!

No. Sadly both chefs are sick. So say goodbye to good food and a pint! Well good food anyway.