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S5 E10 – Should some foods be banned?

Don’t listen to this episode if you’re easily offended. Things got VERY controversial and Barry kicks off the chat by talking about foie gras and has really strong opinions on the matter. The guys also discuss kinder eggs, white kit kat chunky’s (YUM) and daisies (?!) But what do you reckon, are there some foods that just have to be banned or should we have the freedom to make the decision to eat ‘controversial’ food for ourselves? Let us know where you stand and why.

Best soundbite: “Remember when they took away white kit kat chunky’s? I was livid! Bring back white kit kat chunky’s” – Barry Taylor

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  1. tjmarskbb

    I think we can all agree that the way the USA (I’m a citizen) handles food and food regulations is ….. not the best.

  2. raptorwrecks

    I think this is one of the more interesting topics that has come up on the podcast! Well done Ben. Really, it’s interesting that I’d like to hear a Part Two, maybe that’s a sortof response/interaction with what the community has had to say here. Keep the conversation going.

    I grew up on a farm, so I think there’s another perspective to be added and that’s the anthropomorphizing of animals. With the distance between the producers/farmers of food and the table these days, i think the average person thinks of farm animals in too human a way. They see things that would be cruel to a human and assume that it’s cruel to an animal. They also tend to think of animals as inherently wild, where most of what we farm has been domesticated for thousands and thousands of years and that has fundamentally changed aspects of their behavior.

    Which isn’t to say there aren’t cruel farming practices out there, tightly caging chickens and so forth. But I think there’s also a serious lack of knowledge as to how animals think, feel and behave as well. In addition to the fact that practices like pasture raised and forage feeding bring about their OWN set of health and saftey problems for both the farmers and livestock.
    And like so many of the things you brought up, I’m not really sure how you address that unless you grow up inside either a farm or a farming community.

  3. bigbeardk

    you should come to denmark and try a real hotdog specifcly aalborg and the nothern Jylland we also have “beefsandwich” its basicly a burger with sauce all over it and it is delicious ^^

  4. Scaramouchemusic

    Six and a half minutes in. Barry Taylor is a fucking decent bloke! Really appreciating the passion when talking about where ingredients comes from and whether it’s a necessary addition to a meal. Totally agree on his foie gras-stance. I had a brief stint with vegetarianism a couple of years ago. The classic “watched a video and was so absolutely disgusted, that I couldn’t touch meat without barfing”.I’m not a vegetarian anymore, even though I rarely eat meat. I think it’s important to eat less of it, but better quality.
    I totally agree with some commentators here saying that certain practices should be banned, not the foods. That said, the world should get rid off Cilantro. It’s nasty and tastes like soap. Fight me. But after I finish listening to the podcast :p

  5. bigbeardk

    can you please do so we can control volume in the freaking player you are so low bc i can’t control the volume in the player itself ^^

  6. Dimi

    Feels like I’m going to echo what a lot of people have said here.

    I don’t think it’s even possible or necessarily a good idea to out right ban foods per say. But as others have said banning some processes, especially ones that are cruel to animals may be a step forward.

    But again, then there are repercussions. Talking on the cage vs free range egg debate, as pointed out, the price point in the supermarket might only reflect a marginal increase to begin with, but in industry where they are used on mass? And if you think about how many foods have eggs in them, over a weekly shop a small increase on every item will end up adding up to a much larger total in the end, and then you risk making food inaccessible to the less fortunate. Especially when you move away from just eggs and start stretching it into all aspects of food. Free range, ethically sourced, organic, pasture raised, are all great in theory. Again, I feel I have more questions than answers.

    Then you also have to run the gauntlet of what one culture considers cruelty versus another considering it normal.
    And it’s easy to say, “we need to preserve these traditions” etc. etc. But if they are cruel, why? There are many things we use to do as a society that we no longer do because we have evolved, and we have learned, and we have moved forward and found better ways.

    Maybe not stuffing a goose/duck till it’s liver is about to explode will not make the “same” tasting pate, but something similar instead, does making it the same matter soo much? If the people that ate it had to watch a video of the ducks and geese having tubes stuck down their throats and force fed, would they feel the same way? We talk about knowledge as power being the key take away from many of these podcasts, and a couple of weeks ago we talked about knowing where your food comes from. It’s one thing to just say, “yeah I know, they get force fed food” but your mental image of what that means maybe very disconnected from the reality.
    I don’t know the answers, but I think it’s important to ask the questions. I don’t want to shame anyone that has eaten Fois Gras, or any other similar “controversial” food. But I do think it’s important, as I said in the other podcast, for people to understand their choices. And I think it’s more so important in cases like this where there is discussions of ethics and cruelty involved.

    As for consent and “unhealthy” food and banning foods, that’s even harder. What’s unhealthy for one person is a necessary part of someone else’s diet, so who makes the decision of what’s healthy? Anyone on a keto diet will tell you they NEED high fat foods. Diabetics need access to high sugar foods. Making those foods expensive or inaccessible could end up price out people with disabilities and hardships.

  7. ancsa0727

    Hey guys! Could you please make a tutorial for the android version podcast player too? I’ve download all the 4 supported podcast apps, but i couldn’t find the URL subscription in any of them, and its getting really frustrating now. I see how easy for the ios users, but in android, I dont think its the same. Please heeeeeeeeeeeelp! ♥️

    • Dimi

      I use podcast addict for android. It’s sometimes hard to find the “add URL” bit apps, a lot of them have it listed as “rss”.

      In podcast Addict:
      -From the homescreen hit the (+) button near the top right.
      -Hit RSS and it will give you the option to add the URL and if you click “authentication” it will then ask you for a username and password (which is the same one you use for this website)

      That should work, and be pretty similar on other android apps.
      Hope this helps 🙂

      • Sorted

        Thanks for helping out there Dimi! Feel free to drop us an email to club@sortedfood.com if you’re still struggling @ancsa0727 and we’ll do out best to help xx

  8. Phaerlock

    Considering the gras can be made without poultry cruelty. I feel if it’s made according to that practice it could be ok.

    Respect where the food comes from and how the practice of bringing that good to the table.
    Things that is traditional should be kept but as long as it’s not cruel or harmful in nature. Hunting animals, as long as you keep the animals pain to the minimum amount of time I think in small amounts is needed for historic preservation.

    • chef.md.nguyen

      im from canada, and where i am, there are some farms that raises duck without the force feeding them and still have the best outcome for foie gras.

  9. Annie1962

    I feel like everyone else that this subject is very difficult.

    We might feel that stuffing a goose until its liver is swollen for the sake of taste is cruel

    Hindus might think us eating any sort of beef is horrendous.

    It’s a matter of perspective – religious, cultural etc.. so I don’t believe this subject will ever find a proper solution.

    I eat meat, so I feel I don’t even deserve a say. I’m consciously eating another living being.

  10. Anita

    In my perfect world, factory farming of animals would definitely be banned, but then, prices would skyrocket, people couldn’t afford it, there would be riots everywhere, not a pretty picture. Or can it be possible? John Jeavons, an advocate of biointensive agriculture, argues that in a few decades, industrial agriculture won’t be able to feed the world’s population, anyway. He believes that biointensive mini farms are the solution because they use less area without depleting the soil, use more than 80% less water for vegetable crops compared to industrial methods, grow healthy plants that produce more nutritious food, that are not so prone to diseases. Utopian? Maybe. Making the whole world grow their food and live on a plant-based diet is a bit unrealistic. BUT I think we should still encourage ourselves to move towards this ideal from the ground up, even in tiny steps. Sadly, where I’m from, I see more and more people moving away from this type of self-sustenance even in the countryside. My mom lives in a small town in Hungary where people have relatively big gardens that they just don’t use and buy everything they eat from Tesco and the local stores with not so local produce and products. One of my long-term goals is to get as close as possible to growing and raising what my family eats. For now, all I can do is make consumer choices that feel right to me. I try to be extremely conscious about meat. I always opt for the pasture-raised or at least free-range options. I know, it’s more expensive but I limit my meat consumption to compensate. It’s a small thing but I do believe that by doing it AND talking about it with those who are interested can make a difference. Media is often referred to as the fourth branch of government. And now, with the omnipresent social media, individuals have more power over this branch than ever.

    “Guidance” from the top that we can truly rely on would be so convenient, though. I’m not sure, however, to what extent they should – or, taking the power of food lobbies into consideration, could – ban certain practices that should be allowed to get nowhere near our food supply. However, I still think it could be a realistic expectation to:

    1. have more centralized control over the substances producers are allowed to put on/into our food. I know Europe is not perfect either but the fact that they don’t allow certain additives, pesticides there can still give us just a little peace of mind. In the US, I feel much more need for researching what I should eat and where I should source my food from. And it can be overwhelming.

    2. have more centralized power over what producers should disclose and over education about food (again, lobby alert!). E.g. every time you eat foie gras, you should be required by law to watch a short documentary about how that fatty liver is achieved. 😀 Okay, just kidding. But the extent to which we’ve become alienated from our food is seriously alarming. We really should reconnect with what we put into our bodies and re-empower ourselves to make the right choices as customers, as voters, and as humans. Yikes, I’ve gone overboard 😀

    Well, many of this season’s topics are ones that I’m really passionate about. And although I’d love the podcast itself to be longer, I enjoy how the comments take it further, to places I wouldn’t normally go and think about. Thanks for making my brain engaged on the weekends 😉

  11. ThomasEdwards

    I say any animal/plant that is endangered should be banned from deliberately hunting.

  12. Taezar

    I hate to push the whole “nanny state” mentality, but market forces are not good enough – in fact they are detrimental – just look at the food quality and obesity problem in America. Sure it’s cheap, but it’s so bad for you.
    Many foods and ingredients available in the US are banned here. We need to draw that line in the sand.
    Increase taxes on products that are harmful, don’t let companies buy their “heart tick” or similar, use those increased revenues to invest in active transport.
    The environmental impact of western style mass production is horrendous – and not enough people are stepping up – so let’s elect representatives who will.

  13. Lynzilla

    I think the idea of ‘banning’ particular foods is a particularly thorny one; The arguments can become too cyclical- Foie Gras and veal are certainly especially cruel practices, but where do you draw the line? I think if consumers make informed decisions, they can effectively ‘ban’ a product by voting with their wallets. If there isn’t a profit to be made, the product will quietly disappear, much like the white chocolate kit kat.
    That being said, I think the Brussels Sprout should be banned. They are just icky.

  14. alm477

    I have so many thoughts, but so little coherency. Sorry.

    I happen to agree that the world of food is too big to put in blanket bans/etc. And you have to be very careful and cognizant over the fact that people have different access and different (for lack of a better term) food realities. An example from the US, some Native American tribes in Alaska are allowed to hunt whales (a limited number of them) and have gotten an ENORMOUS amount of outcry from the rest of the country and other countries about it. However, 1) hunting that whale has deep cultural meaning 2) they are going to eat/use every part of that whale because 3) Native Americans in Alaska are often EXTREMELY food insecure. The difficulty of getting supplies up there and in some intensely isolated places mean that prices for food can be astronomical (think $50 for a single head of iceberg lettuce, $70 for crappy blueberry muffins someone in the contiguous US could get for less than $5) and Native Americans have the highest rate of poverty in the US. That whale means a lot of people being fed (and traditional food too) in a place where there are few options.

    Land use is also something I don’t always see discussed. Someone had a really good take on this, but basically not all land lends itself to the same use. Some land is great for growing food–the right mix of water, good soil, etc. More arid or hilly places? The amount of water/terraforming you would have to use to make those places workable for growing plants would be immensely wasteful, destructive, and devastating to the environment. But they might be just perfect for raising cattle, sheep, or goats (who require less water and can eat a lot of what’s already there).

    While we often focus on cruelty with regard to animals for food production we often ignore that a lot of plant-based food comes at the expense of other humans. Like, living in the US and ignoring the fact that a lot of your vegetables and fruits are picked by people who are viciously exploited (low wage, high danger, immigrants under constant threat of deportation and threat more generally, prisoners producing food for less than minimum wage, etc) is…common, but shouldn’t be.

    I’ll also throw in that “healthy food” is not actually the same for everyone so banning things for health reasons can sometimes get dicey (I am not talking about foods laced with pretty obvious poisons, that arsenic fact is really scary!). People tend to ignore medical conditions, disabilities, chronic illness and medications can all influence whether a food is actually “good” for you or not. Certain chronic health problems can mean the gut can’t process fiber very well–a nice veggie stir fry (that would be very good for the able bodied person to eat!) could WRECK the intestines of someone with that type of problem. Grapefruit (healthy for most of us!) is infamous for disrupting medications. Meanwhile someone with cystic fibrosis NEEDS a high sodium diet to function. Certain medications require fat in order to absorb properly–one medication to treat hepatitis C must be taken with 20g of fat in order to actually work! And there are people for whom ANY calorie is a good calorie.

    I am also leery of who we would trust to do the banning, because there can be a lot of people who say “we are doing this for your own good” when really…they aren’t. Because a law can be intended to do one thing (or people SAY it’s intended to do one thing), but the actual enforcement/implementation does something completely different. For a recent-ish case, the state of Wisconsin passed a draconian overhaul of their food assistance program aimed at limiting what the poor could buy with their food stamps for their “health” and to prevent them from purchasing “luxurious items.” Now the law was immediately struck down as unconstitutional and never went into effect. But if it had? The number and type of forbidden items on the list were baffling (the list of banned items included rice and canned beans, among other basic staples), would functionally reduce the amount of food you could afford to buy, and even crossed some lines by not accounting for diets shaped by religion (Kosher cheese was not an item you were allowed to buy unless you got a doctors note) or even certain health problems (hope you aren’t celiac!).

    I’ll leave you with a Fun Fact: It is illegal in Pennsylvania to refuse to serve alcohol to a pregnant woman.

  15. VixReviews

    Now I’ve got my gushing over the Eat app done, on to the actual topic. Maybe from the animal welfare point of view, the legislation should come at it more from the side, like with battery farm eggs. They didn’t ban eggs, just certain farming practices that were particularly cruel. It’s similar to veal, you can still produce and eat veal in the UK, you just can’t keep them in crates so tiny they can’t move. Yes, the final product has been slightly changed, but it hasn’t been banned completely.

    As for the safety aspects, I completely agree with Jamie in that there is a huge difference between things that grow naturally, and things that are made. The main difference being that companies cannot be trusted. The majority of companies will do literally anything that is legal, providing it makes them richer. They’ll put arsenic in chickens, sawdust in flour, anything they could get away with they have done until it was specifically banned. Yes, sometimes things like kinder eggs get caught up in poorly written legislation, but until companies collectively grow a conscience it’s better to pick the option that doesn’t kill people. Softer regulations, like requiring that all food be labelled with exactly what’s in it has started to force companies to use ingredients that people are willing to buy, but that does put the onus on the consumer to know exactly what every ingredient is and what it does and its health and ecological impacts. There literally aren’t enough hours in the day to build up enough knowledge to make informed choices about everything though, so there comes a point you have to trust someone else to decide.

    For ‘natural’ (I kinda hate using that word) products though, it’s much messier. First, do we count things that are a result of selective breeding as natural still? And where exactly is the line between food, drug, and poison? And exactly how harmful does a substance have to be before it is banned? If we look at the opium poppy, which bits should be banned? It started as one flower, but was selectively bred until we ended up with the variety we have now. They’re still just flowers though, still natural growing things that just happen to have the potential for a psychoactive effect. But should we allow people to just grow their own? If individuals can, can companies? Yes, there may be a ban on refining it without licence, but is the potential for harm too great to allow people the raw materials unrestricted? I’m really not sure. I do think that outright bans, rather than access restrictions, aren’t the way forward though. So many medical uses have been found for illegal substances that complete bans are nonsensical. While I am certainly not admitting to drug use or supply on the internet, while my Mum was sick she may have found herself with access to cannabis whenever I visited even though she had spent most of her life very anti-drugs. The complete ban meant that figuring out drug interactions, finding the right strain, and balancing dosage were all extremely difficult, and it all seemed so ridiculous. The polarised argument surrounding it due to the ban made it even more difficult to find out the actual potentially harmful effects to watch out for too. A similar argument can be made around mushrooms and LSD for various mental health conditions too. If there’s a complete ban, it becomes difficult to even study them, no matter how promising research is.

    A bit of a tangent related to that here, I have ME/CFS (among other things), a disease that is extremely poorly understood at the moment (though some very promising research has come out in the last six months or so). It is a disease that is both extremely debilitating, and has absolutely zero effective treatments at the moment. This combination means that many, if not most, of the people who have it are open to trying any random drug that might help, because in many cases it’s not like dying would be that much of a worse option. But if a drug company wanted a research licence for a banned substance that has the potential to improve things, it is both extremely difficult, limiting, and expensive to do so. In the case of CFS, there’s a small amount of evidence that various substances might help with symptoms, but absolutely zero chance of any company actually looking into it as it isn’t economically viable. A hard ban doesn’t make sense

    So I suppose where this weeks ramble led me is that, in general, ‘soft’ bans including limiting various farming practices, limiting but not completely banning access, and limiting quotas based one available stocks (which I didn’t talk about, but I’ve already gone on long enough) are a good idea because people are, as a group, a**holes, but ‘hard’ bans are often a bad idea as it limits research and gets unnecessary products caught in overly wide nets.

    • alm477

      I LOVE your comment, but have a funny story to add. One of my college professors told us about how he has an opium poppy that grows by his mail box and every spring without fail a police officer comes by and mildly asks if he is planning to do anything nefarious with that poppy. Evey year he answers no, except for one year when he got annoyed and decided to try to refine opium from it just out of spite (using an old method, because at least one of his specialties is Roman Republic and Empire). He kinda succeed, but leaned too far over the pot he was using and accidentally got really high off the fumes. And that was the last time he did that particular experiment o_0

  16. VixReviews

    Before I go into the whole knotty problem of food and bans, I’m just taking a look at the Eat app, and I’m super excited! I’m an Edinburgh local, but haven’t had a chance to go to half of the restaurants on the app yet. I think The Lookout will be first on my list, as Calton Hill has a special place in my heart, and their restaurant has made the hill so much more accessible to me by allowing taxis to drop off at the top of the hill. They also did what was apparently an incredible tasting experience the night of last Beltane, which I couldn’t go to as I was opening the festival. A friend did though, and was absolutely gushing about it. I hope you guys come up to Edinburgh again at some point, as there are so many more absolutely amazing restaurants up here that it would be impossible to get through them all in a couple of days. I’ve been here twelve years, and I still haven’t tried even a fraction.

  17. danielahitstheroad

    Caged eggs were banned in Germany in 2010; older farms were allowed to transform to a, albeit marginally, better system, but now only roughly 9% of hens are kept that way and only till ’22, when those are also forbidden.
    In supermarkets you can only buy organic, free range or floor range (?) eggs and while prices went up a little bit, it was by far not as significant as expected. So changing the way we produce food by law doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a lot, be it money, convenience or taste.

    • VixReviews

      Similarly, the argument in the US about vaccinating hens against salmonella. It’s required everywhere within the EU due to the overwhelming evidence that it prevents salmonella poisoning in people, but there was massive lobbying against it in the US as it would raise the costs for farmers, and they argued that the cost of eggs would skyrocket if they were required to vaccinate hens. Funnily enough, the price increase in the EU also wasn’t anywhere near as significant as expected, and given that the EU had 10 deaths from salmonella last year (out of ~500mil population) vs the 450 in the US (~330mil population) I’d say it was worth the extra money.

  18. thekatsfang

    It’s a deliciously knotty problem that makes me want to rip my ears off. I don’t know if one ban, globally enacted, is a solution because every nation has different needs, and every culture has different traditions around food. A generalized ban would either seriously step on some nations’ toes, or would be so mild and vague that it effectively changes nothing.

    What might work better would be for nations to agree to minimize certain practices as a group, but then tailoring the exact ban/laws/whatevers to meet the needs of their own populace. And until that happens, keep educating the individuals so that they can make the best choices for themselves and their dependants.

  19. Emalor1

    Please come to the North East for the food app. Newcastle, Durham and Leads have great restaurants ?

  20. suebarnes

    Jamie, I would disagree with you that an individual making a stand makes no difference to the world in general, Yes I agree that it doesn’t in the sort term, but like the ripples in a pond the effects will spread and the difference will increase. Look at veganism/vegetarianism not so long ago they were thought of as ‘hippies’ cranks even, but like Barry said. he and many other people are now more aware of what they eat, from what goes into their food to the ethics of its production and as a result eat less meat and more plant based wholegrain food. Not that many years ago free range produce was a niche market now it is a major selling point

  21. JoRo

    Did Barry answer his own question when discussing which organisation on a global scale could ban foods… “WHO are that body?” World Health Organisation.

    Think I stand on the people being more informed and making their own decisions side, however you then have at what age are children able to make their own decisions about the food they eat? What about for people where mental capacity is has been tested what would/should they be allowed to eat if there are questionable foods?

    • VixReviews

      I suspect for that last one, anything that starts with “we should put a blanket ban on disabled people doing x” is going to turn out to be a really really bad idea. Would signed consent for everyone wanting it be a workable option, as it would then fall under the law surrounding… power of attorney I’m guessing?

      • JoRo

        It would fall under power of attorney or guardianship (depending on legal route taken) and as you said signed consent. (For clarification people lacking mental capacity, not blanket term disabled, big world of difference.)
        I suppose the point I’m wondering is if we live in a world where people make informed decisions on the food they eat (of the questionable variety) is it right that people who have been found to be lacking mental capacity cannot experience the foods they wish to because their guardian or person with power of attorney doesn’t agree with it? I don’t know if it is an answerable question, and I can absolutely see arguments for and against, ultimately it will always come down to what is in the best interests of the individual in question.

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