My salad dressing days

We need to talk about scampi
February 4, 2008, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Seriously, we do.

So…Young’s (fine purveyors of all things fishy) are fishing for the scampis (aka torn-up bits of prawns or langoustines) in Scotland. And, whereas they used to process them in Scotland, they now ship them to Thailand to be hand-peeled. Because this is what the punters like, apparently. When the processing was done in Scotland, the scampis were peeled by a machine. Vox pop said: machine-peeling bad, we no likey. Hand-peeling good, we likey.

With me?

(Entirely coincidentally, you realise, it just happens to be approximately one gazillion times cheaper to get some Thai people to hand-peel the scampis, rather than whack them through some machine in Scotland.)

And when the scampis are peeled, they are shipped back to Scotland to be packaged. Because we like nice packaging with proper spelling and stuff.

Some people did not like this (the shipping it halfway round the world and back bit) because it was a bit crap for Scottish employment levels and seriously shit (so it seemed) for the environment.

So Young’s got in a reputable NGO to investigate the environmental impact of giving these (sadly dead) scampis the trip of a lifetime (and back again) and claim that – because they had ditched machines in favour of hand-peeling – there was no difference in the levels of carbon emissions between the old and new processes.


‘Well, that’s marvellous,’ I hooted. ‘Silly, but marvellous! I mean, fair play to Young’s. They got some flak, so they pulled in The Carbon Trust to do some research and turns out everything is tickety-boo.’

‘Ah…’ sighed the resident emissions expert. ‘But did they take into account the carbon emitted to produce the food to feed those Thai workers who are hand-peeling the scampis? Somehow I doubt it. Just as the machines in the Scottish processing plant needed energy, so do those Thai workers.’


This climate change stuff is kinda complicado, no? 

Be a Scottish scampi! Travel the globe!


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

And what about all the carbon emissions needed to work out the carbon emissions?

Comment by The Birdwatcher

Look, it all just sounds wrong. All of it. Also, how fresh can those scampi really be with all that traveling and peeling and repacking?

Comment by OvaGirl

what an excellent point, birdwatcher

i shall have to email the carbon trust forthwith to ask them to adjust their research findings

ovagirl: it would seem the scottish people are not so bothered about freshness – more important is that these world-weary scampis are thickly covered in glutinous, cholesterol-indulging batter (as an accompaniment to a dessert of deep-fried mars bars and ice cream)

Comment by Lettuce Hater

The only thing to do is to import lots of cheap workers. Say Chinese labourers from rural provinces, packed into lorries. Set them all up in small, poorly lit rooms (to avoid carbon costs from lighting) and set them to work close to the point of harvest. There; no-one could complain about that, could they?

Comment by Stef

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