A quick scan in the fridge this morning to allow me to ponder what to have for dinner when I got back from work. Oh, there’s a couple of packs of fresh Tortellini. Of the two, the Pork and Ham one was the more appealing. Purely out of interest, I glanced at the ingredients label, and boy, I wish I hadn’t done that !!!!! Why? Here’s why.
About half way through the list, pork connective tissue is clearly labelled. Now doesn’t that sound darn tasty.
During my 4 year stint with a UK Charity from 2001 – 2005, this led to a number of meetings/discussions/emails with the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) right up to the highest level. This was all namely in light of BSE related issues. As such, McDawg is more than probably a bit more knowledgeable than “your man on the Clapham Omnibus” about specified risk material, mechanically recovered meat etc.
I’ve known for a while that the FSA have been calling for more informative labelling generally including providing more information about country of origin, actual type of meat/meat product etc.
So what exactly is mammalian connective tissue? I had a rough idea in the sense that this is not meat. Here’s the wiki page on connective tissue.
Also see the following from the Guardian in 2006; How processed is the food you eat?
“'Reclaimed' meat, such as pork connective tissue, is common in cheap meat-based products such as paté and sausages. Made from the last scraps of meat and offal left on the carcass after the more nutritious cuts of meat have been removed, it goes through a number of processes in order to make it palatable.”
That aside, I’ve enjoyed eating “Pork” and Ham/Mascarpone etc. Tortellini for a long time and will probably return to this again but just not right now.
Having said all that, now that I'm back home and have re-read the label, things ain't as bad as I initially thought. The product does actually contain Pork AND Pork Connective Tissue. I'm still too grossed out though by the yuk factor at the moment so I'll probably freeze the product and consume at a later date.
So, I can really say nothing more than….. “Pork Connective Tissue and Ham Tortellini…….. you are the weakest link – goodbye”.