Is Your Bacon Buttie British?

My fondness for bacon butties is legendary, indeed it has long been an ambition of mine to travel the length and breadth of the country sampling the delights of assorted roadside cafes and mobile breakfast shacks. If there was a book on them I'd buy it, if not I'd write it - a kind of Nogger Ronay guide to all things pork.

When I worked at Beoco on the Dock Road in Liverpool I used to travel in deliberately early, partially to beat the traffic, partially to get away from Mrs N#1 who was not a pretty sight at 7.30am (she didn't look to good at 7.30pm either come to think of it). I mean I'm not saying she was ugly, but if she was a small animal you wouldn't have bothered domesticating her. Every time she used to get into the sandpit in the back garden to play with the kids the cat used to cover her up.

No, I also used to go in early to sample the delights of the breakies at the greasy spoon opposite. Next to that pub that used to do the strippers on a Friday lunchtime. Yeah, the one where the "lady" was so out of it that time that she carried on going long after the music had stopped. What was it called? The Sticky Carpet, or something like that. Anyway I digress...

Yes the breakies at this place on the Dock Road were great, even though like most of these gaffs it wasn't ever going to win too many prizes for decor. Full English, no egg - they are the food of the Devil and come out of a chickens arse, we all know that - so I'll double up on bacon please. Two toasts and a cup of tea. £2.95 Lovely jubbly, you can't go wrong. Certainly a significant improvement on the microwavable breakfasts dished up in the Beoco canteen. What was that woman's name who used to do the food there? I use the word 'food' in it's loosest possible sense. She looked like Fred Scuttle in a skirt, two sawn-off milk bottle bottoms for glasses. Thought she was funny but she wasn't, a bit like Jonathan Ross. Joyce, that was her.

Anyway, the point is much as I will always try and buy local meat, not just British meat, but meat from down the road if possible, but never once did I ask Frank in the cafe where his bacon came from. If I'm occasionally forced to buy in a supermarket I will always try and at least buy British. But generally speaking you don't have an option when you eat at Frank's Cafe, or the local pub or wherever.

Wasn't there a kerfuffle involving leading sandwich purveyor recently when it was revealed that the meat in their "fresh" chicken sarnies came from Brazil? Here's a lovely fresh chicken sarnie Missus, only kicked to death six months ago then shipped in from 6,000 miles away, just £2.99. You don't see that on the label do you? A BLT then? Bacon Lingeringly Tortured.

We don't generally even think to ask where the bacon in our roadside butties comes from either do we? I know I don't, but we should.

More than half of bacon sold in the UK, and 43% of other pork products, comes from abroad where animal welfare standards are far below our own, says this article in today's Guardian: here

It seems immoral that whilst we have laws supporting proper animal welfare in this country, there are none against importing meat kept to any old standards you like. And whilst they're thinking about that one aren't we all supposed to be saving the planet as well here?

Why not slap a tax on imported produce? And the farther away it comes from the more tax goes on the product? Food Air Miles if you like. Don't tell me that Joe Public will never wear it, if Joe wants an kumquat then he's going to have to pay for it, simple as. There's plenty of perfectly good British food to go round.

Don't tell me that this will disadvantage a Kenyan strawberry grower or a Paraguayan coffee farmer either for Christ's sake, what about our own British producers, surely we should be putting them first? The Kenyan strawberry grower is just taking money out of the country.

The supermarkets could help for a start by getting their fingers out and clearly labelling the country of origin on everything. Don't tell us that the average housewife doesn't care if the milk she is buying is British or not, if you don't give her the information she can't make an informed choice can she?

I think I might run for Prime Minister, get me Piers Morgan and Max Clifford on the other line #3....Vote Nogger.