Smoked Irish Salmon : organically farmed mild oak smoked salmon. On the back, the product claims to be Smoked Irish Organic Salmon (Salmo salar) slices. He knows a lot about fish-farming having started the first eel (Anguilla anguilla) farm in the Netherlands a generation ago and he has an idea about what corners are necessary to cut if you want to supply one of the big UK margin-slashing supermarket chains. He was also a bit bamboozled by the Euroleaf symbol (see right) which appeared under the bar code. But maybe that's because he hasn't got out much these last four years: "From 1 July 2010, the use of the EU organic logo is compulsory for organic pre-packaged food produced within the European Union." He maintained that the only thing organic about the product was the saw-dust used to smoke it. Which, if you read the brown text above, could well be true in the weasel-word tradition that makes a marketable distinction between Irish Smoked Salmon and Smoked Irish Salmon. But the documentation on places where the Euroleaf may be displayed suggest that this hypothesis cannot hold up - and I quote:
Can the logo be used on packaging material of the following products?
- Sardines in organic olive oil: NO
- Organic salmon: YES
- Wine made with organic grapes: NO
- Soup made of organic vegetables: YES
- Wool from organic sheep: NO
- Milk from a dairy farm in conversion period: NO
- Other organic animal products, where only national rules exist (rabbits, snails, deers, etc.): NO
- Pet food: NO
By the time I returned, The Beloved and O'Manch had been out for an hour and picked the road clean well into the neighbouring county. All I was able to contribute was an old tire that I'd picked out of the verge the previous afternoon on the way home and the wing of my own car which I had retrieved from a ditch in another part of the county a few days after my argument with that same ditch. TB & O'M had found another two tires and a couple of bagfuls of miscellaneous jetsam. After a bowl of soup we went to the village hall to compare notes with the other trash-pickers and have a community cup of tea and some buns. This annual ritual is worth doing, not only to meet the neighbours, scarf down some free food and clean up our own back-yard but also to discourage the next person who wants to fire something out of the car-window. If the hedges are already festooned with detritus, it is marginally easier to do the wrong thing.