|A good read.|
In the US eggs are washed, in the EU it is illegal to sell a washed egg unless it is pasteurised. The US store eggs in a fridge not so in the EU. Washing an egg removes the cuticle which is a natural protective coating, this allows all manner of pathogens to pass into the egg, fridges are a good source of contamination, storing an egg in the egg compartment of a fridge which is nearly always in the door of the fridge subjects the egg to a variation of temperature which can cause the shell to effervesce, allowing even more contamination. Yet pastured hens are not encouraged, pastured eggs are rather different from 'Free Range' which normally describes a system where 4000+ birds are kept in one house with access to pasture. Pastured hens are birds who live in small flocks, in the case of Joel, the house being moved daily, yet these eggs can't be sold to any food outlet only directly to the end consumer, the same law applies in the EU. unless you are registered as a producer. I know which one I would feel safer with.
The US has now removed the ban on imports of Irish beef, the discerning American consumer wants 'Grass Fed beef' they do not want feed lot beef, and who can blame them, but to supply this market from Irish beef when there are many US small farmers producing grass fed beef is crazy. It might be good for Ireland but it is not good for the small US farmer. So why don't the US farmers give the discerning consumer what they want? Food safety laws. In the US unless you have an animal slaughtered in a Federal abattoir that animal can not be taken across state lines. Many states only have state abattoirs, so the beef is safe to eat in that state but deemed unsafe if sold into another state. Crazy.
The UK has a major problem with campylobacter in their chicken supply, with 80% of the chickens tested showing positive, this might also apply to Ireland, if so its being kept quiet. There are just a hand full of poultry slaughter houses left in the UK ( I think it's six) and most table chicken will have come from battery houses. I would be very interested to know if small free range chicken units are also contaminated, I suspect not. We eat our own produced chickens and have never had any tummy bugs, but I can guarantee that if we had chicken in a restaurant we would feel the effects, it is something that I never have or would eat in a restaurant, I just do not trust mass produced food, but I would have no problem eating at friends who serve their own chicken.
To me it stands to reason that if you are buying or eating locally produced meat you will know where it has come from, it will have been killed on farm or at a local butchers. It has not travelled heaven knows how many miles and handled by so many people.
For anyone wanting to know the real truth about food safety I can recommend this book, it is a good read, frustrating but funny, and it is equally applicable to the EU as well as the US.
Keeping poultry is never easy, although we have a large population of foxes in the area we have never lost a bird to one, this we put down to the electric poultry fencing, we have four 50 m rolls protecting the birds against the fox, this has worked even when the fence has not been switched on, a fox gets a belt and learns. Not so with the mink, the mink may get a belt but it will be back, it only takes human error, like forgetting to turn the fencing back on after bird feeding or egg collection and the mink will take full advantage of the opportunity. We have had three attacks in as many weeks, the first attack was at night, the mink got through a 35mm gap at the top of the house and killed six birds. Mink don't eat the bird they just kill by puncturing the neck, Simon found the birds the next morning when he went to let them out. The second attack was at dusk, between giving the birds their grain scratch feed and looking them up half an hour later, the birds had already gone to roost, the mink attacked leaving three more dead birds behind. In both cases the fencing was not on. Time to take stock. Each time the paddocks were entered the fencing had to be turned off, it is easy to get distracted and forget to turn it back on again. With the reduced stock the paddocks were rearranged, extra fencing bought and a main paddock gate made. The fencing is now doubled, two rolls on each section and each paddock contained within the outer boundary has it's own gate way. However, between the time of creating what we hoped would be Fort Knox and a ten minute tea break once again the fencing had been left off, once again the mink struck in broad daylight killing a La Bresse pullet who had just come into lay.
|A quick poke just to make sure.|
Traps have now been set, a total of five I think, the electric fence no longer has to be turned off to get into the runs and we have invested in a vermin killer in the form of a Jack Russell puppy.
|An object of curiosity.|
|Time for siesta.|
|Do I eat it or clean it?|
Mink are deadly creatures, they are not a native species, they were released from fur farms when the bottom dropped out of the fur market, not to mention the actions of the Animal Liberationists. If you trap a mink you must be prepared to kill it, it is illegal to release it, they devastated wild life,
|At least the blue tits have survived the mink.|
Things are growing in the garden, bulbs are showing their leaves,
|A three year wait,but worth it.|
We still have an abundance of vegetables growing, it has been very mild so far this winter although rather wet since Christmas, but the days are getting longer.