The old saying, “What goes around comes around,” certainly holds true for British food blogger Jamie Oliver. Oliver is good at using sensationalism to gain notoriety. He’s slammed McDonald’s cheeseburgers, calling them “unfit for human consumption.” He’s also boosted his career by slinging mud when BPI’s lean finely textured beef was under attack a few years ago, helping to spread the term “pink slime” to create an ugly, inaccurate image regarding the safety of America’s beef supply.
While such sensationalistic characterizations may have gained Oliver more exposure, according to news reports, his credibility is in question as a result of his own food safety practices. It appears Oliver’s flagship butcher shop has been closed by public health officials after poor hygiene conditions -- including mouse droppings, mold and dirty equipment -- were found in one of his butcher shops.
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According to Matthew Weaver for theguardian.com, “Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group has confirmed it closed its flagship butcher's shop in London after public health officers found poor hygiene conditions. When Corporation of London inspectors called at the TV chef's Barbecoa butcher's in January, they found a ‘heavy presence’ of mouse droppings, mold on carcasses, and dirty equipment. The public health officers gave the butcher's a score of one out of five.
“Inspectors found several gourmet meat products that were past their use-by dates. They included wagyu beef, onglet and lomo de cana – Spanish cured pork loins – according to the full copy of the inspectors' report. The inspectors also noted dirty fridge door handles, poor lighting, inadequate staff washing facilities and damaged flooring."
Perhaps Oliver should practice what he preaches when it comes to food safety. I’m confident that America’s beef supply is safe and healthy for consumers to enjoy, without fear or guilt. It’s just too bad folks like Oliver try to burnish their reputations by sensationalism and slinging mud.
What do you think about Oliver’s public health situation? Do you think his previous claims have any merit? How can we counteract his attacks against the beef industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.
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