The current horsemeat scandal has had a huge impact on me - primarily as a mum and also as founder of my own food company. The issue of trust is now in sharp focus and we're hearing mums asking whether they can trust the brands and retailers responsible for stocking up their fridges, freezers and food cupboards. As a nation, we are re-assessing our food buying routines and questioning where our food comes from.
Over the pond, America has seen a lot of coverage on a study into tuna showing one third of samples tested were mislabeled. It seems inevitable that other issues may come to light as the public and media get tougher on the true story behind the label.
We hope this turn of events will have a positive impact on both the food industry and consumer habits. While Little Dish has always only used 100% British beef, we are seeing others follow suit by making public commitments to their customers. Mums are telling us they will now be even more stringent about the food they are buying. More importantly, the fact that as a nation we're really focusing on food again will further encourage us to teach our children about real food - where it comes from, what it looks like and how to use basic ingredients to cook simple, healthy meals.
Personally, I am very committed to ensuring as many children as possible have access to fresh, healthy food. What children eat at an early age not only has an impact on their physical health but also their ability to learn. Four years ago an important research study proved that what children eat between the ages of zero to three years old is linked to their long term performance in school.
Everyone wants the best for their children. But when you can't trust what is written on food labels, it's impossible to feel sure you are making positive choices for your family. As a working mum, I know how hard it is to do a long day in the office and then come home to try and figure out what I'm going to cook for supper.
Mums want to give their children nutritious meals but can't always find the time to cook from scratch. On those occasions they put their faith in companies making convenient food they can get on the table quickly. And that faith has now been shaken.
I would never put anything on the shelf I wouldn't feed my own children. Since the scandal broke we've had many concerned parents calling to find out more about our suppliers and sourcing policies, and we are proud that we're able to reassure them.
I know there are other food brands who are able to do the same; however we need the wider food industry to commit to raising the standards so every single food company can provide this assurance to the public.
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