Canberra butchers brush off fears WHO report could cut bottom lines

richard odell griffith butcheryBacon lovers reacting with near apocalyptic fervour to the World Health Organisation report into the cancer risks of red and processed meat do not need to fear a mass shutdown of Canberra's butchers.

One local butcher believes the report will actually benefit smaller operators, rather than harming sales. Meat eaters reacted with dismay to Tuesday's news that the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer found sufficient evidence to conclude processed meats were carcinogenic to humans, and "limited evidence" that red meat probably caused colon cancer. Griffith Butchery proprietor Richard Odell​ said the report would start conversations about the origin and production of the meat people bought, rather than turning them away from it altogether.

He said the spotlight would shine on mass production, over-processing and factory farming, allowing smaller companies to differentiate themselves from the mainstream. "This makes it topical, and gives me an opportunity to air why our meat is so different and how it's grown," he said. "It'll help people understand that, sure, there are foods that aren't grown well, and they'll make us all sick at some point in time. "For us it's a more humane method of farming. A short shelf life for us isn't a problem, because we have a really quick turnaround of stock. It doesn't need to have the extra processing."

Mr Odell said he received very few concerned comments from customers, but the general public reaction reminded him of the E. coli food poisoning scandal in 1995, when people fell ill and one child died after eating Garibaldi smallgoods contaminated with the bacteria. "For us, it was the scenario of having a good product that meant our customers could trust in our products more than the run-of-the-mill production," he said. The WHO report, which has yet to be published in full, caused consternation among some readers, because it grouped processed meats into the same category as tobacco, alcohol and plutonium.

But the chairwoman of Cancer Council Australia's nutrition and physical activity committee stressed that the category grouped only materials found to be carcinogenic, and did not mean processed meats caused the same rates of cancer as the other items. "It's important to put the cancer risks associated with red and processed meat into context in terms of other preventable cancer causes," she said. "While Cancer Council's recent research found that red and processed meat accounted for around 2600 cancer cases each year, 11,500 cancer cases each year are caused by tobacco, 3900 cancer cases are attributable to obesity and being overweight and 3200 are attributable to alcohol." CSIRO Food and Nutrition research scientist Trevor Lockett said it was important to wait for the full report to be released before speculating on its findings, but recommended a maximum of seven serves of lean red meat a week be consumed to keep a healthy diet. "Red meat is a valuable source, not only of protein but also micronutrients, such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12." Canberrans could already be heeding the WHO report's message, given the rise of vegetarian and vegan cafes in Dickson and Braddon in recent years.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/canberra-butchers-brush-off-fears-who-report-could-cut-bottom-lines-20151028-gkkkaa.html#ixzz3puTiopGI 

Free-range ham not an easy ask

free range ham

When ordering the ham, do you know what you're getting? Hamish Boland-Rudder talks to Canberra growers about the confusion of free range.

Many of us have no idea where the Christmas ham, that great centrepiece of many a holiday table, comes from. Come Christmas Day, we turn up at the celebratory home, carting presents, something to drink and a salad, and the ham, in all its glory, glazed or unglazed, warm or cool, carving knife by its side, just appears.

But for the nominated hosts, the keepers of the festive spread, sourcing a good ham is no easy task. And for Canberra's butchers, sourcing a consistent supply of local, free-range, quality pork substantial enough to sustain the insatiable Christmas crowds can be near impossible.

I think more and more people are wanting to know where their food is from. They want to know the province or the origin.

Richard Odell, who runs the Griffith Butchery and sources his meat direct from farmers, says people are after ham that is ethically raised and Australian. "I think more and more people are wanting to know where their food is from. They want to know the province or the origin, call it what you will, but people want to know how it's made and be confident with it," he says.

But pay close attention to the label. Odell and other local butchers warn against buying cheaper imported pork, which he says could be pumped with grain-based fillers to increase the weight of the ham, or farmed under lower standards than Australian pork.

But it goes further than local v imported. There are subtle messages on every label, and layers of meaning behind descriptions of the pork.

While Odell's Christmas hams are Australian and handmade in his shop with no gluten or additives beyond some brine and more than 18 hours of woodsmoke, his "free-range" pork is what's known as "born and bred free range". Which doesn't mean the pigs have lived their lives as free-range animals.

Odell gets his pork from Bundawarrah

at Temora, where farmer Stephen Roberts runs about 135 sows and has been in the pig industry for about 20 years. He is upfront about the term ''born and bred free-range''.

Sows have their litters out in the paddock, where the piglets are free to roam for the first three weeks of their lives. Then they are weaned and moved into "eco-shelters" - large sheds lined thick with straw, where the growing pigs are free to move about indoors away from the elements until they're ready for slaughter after a life of about four months.

At Griffith, Odell agrees that in the end it's all about the meat. When it comes to Christmas he will take home one of his big hams, which he makes to his liking - lightly flavoured with salt and woodsmoke.

"What are [customers] after? An experience, a good experience, because purchasing meat's not just going out and buying it," he says. "They're after the ability to impress."

And that means not only serving good meat, but also knowing exactly where that ham hails from.

Source: Goodfood

Customers aren't sheepish about the traditional leg of lamb

lamb canberra

ACT and Queanbeyan butchers say lamb is in high demand, with a Sunday Canberra Times snap poll showing the price of a leg of lamb is between $12 and $16 a kilogram leading up to Australia Day.

Barbecue meats are at the forefront, but the leg is still a favourite. Richard Odell of Griffith's Butchery and Bakery said it was nice Australians still bought legs.

''Customers have been buying the popular barbecue meats for Australia Day, but something that has really been walking out the door is the butterflied legs of lamb, that are flattened out to cook on the barbecue.''

 Read more: Canberra Times January 21,2012