300 episodes

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat

The Food Programme BBC

    • Food
    • 3.0, 1 Rating

Investigating every aspect of the food we eat

    Why Eat Wild Meat?

    Why Eat Wild Meat?

    Dan Saladino looks at the legal and illegal global trade in wild meat. After links have been made between the Covid-19 pandemic and wild animal populations, there have been calls for a complete ban on the hunting, trade and consumption of wild animals. As Dan explains, this would be a mistake and could even lead to greater risks to human health and livelihoods.

    Most food cultures still feature wild animals, from deer, rabbit and game birds in northern Europe, to cane rats, porcupine and antelope in Africa. Much of this is legal and sustainable, however, in an increasingly globalised world, a parallel and unsustainable illegal trade has been flourishing. Because of its illicit nature hard figures are hard to come by, but the illegal wild animal business is put at around $10bn a year; below the gun and drugs trade but on a par with international people trafficking.

    Current thinking is that the Covid-19 outbreak originated at a so called 'wet market' in Wuhan in China; the virus is believed to have spread from bats, through other wild or domesticated animals packed together in a market and then passed onto humans. Because of this scenario, there have been calls from health professionals and politicians for a complete ban on the wild meat trade.

    Everyone agrees that the wild animal markets need to be reformed and current bans on the illegal trade should be enforced. However as Dan hears from EJ Milner-Gulland, Professor of Biodiversity, University of Oxford, who has spent thirty years working on animal conservation, this blanket approach is far too simplistic and could create more harm than good.

    There are communities around the world still dependent on wild animals for their food security and economic well being. A blanket ban would do serious harm to many already vulnerable populations. Professor Milner-Gulland also explains that there is blurring between wild animals used as food and those used as medicine, which has created a complex supply chain that also blurs the legal status of these animals. What we also need to be focusing on, she argues, is the impact of our own industrial food system on biodiversity and future risks of pandemic.

    This is a point echoed by Professor Andrew Cunningham, an expert in animal diseases at ZSL. He also explains the long history of zoonotic diseases such as measles, small pox and mumps as they jumped from animals to humans, in some cases thousands of years ago, and then moved around the world as humans travelled and traded. The Chinese food expert Fuchsia Dunlop explains that although the wild meat trade is a big issues in China, live animals have been disappearing from markets in towns and cities in recent decades as the country modernises.

    To provide an insight into how important wild animals are to the identities and food security of some cultures Dan Saladino speaks with Alyssa Crittenden, based at the University of the Nevada, Las Vegas, an expert on one of the world's last remaining hunter gatherers, the Hadza. Nature, their environment, including wild animals and their meat, are essential to the survival of the Hadza in their remote part of Tanzania

    Produced and presented by Dan Saladino.

    • 27 min
    Last Orders: Does coronavirus spell boom or bust for Britain’s drinks sector?

    Last Orders: Does coronavirus spell boom or bust for Britain’s drinks sector?

    Alcoholic drinks are not just big business in Britain - they are an essentially social business.

    Whether it's hitting your local with colleagues after work, raising a reception toast to newly-weds or selecting a favourite bottle to accompany dinner at a special restaurant, those traditional opportunities to buy and sell alcohol have been all but wiped out under lockdown.

    As Jaega Wise discovers, pubs, bars, restaurants and the drinks producers who supply them have been some of the hardest hit by virus control measures.

    But at the same time, alcohol sales have soared in recent weeks: retailers have enjoyed a boom in online orders, as have the producers and venues who've been able to adapt and target this new, stay-at-home market.

    So what does this mean for the British drinks sector in the longer term - and, once we're allowed to meet mates down the pub again, just how significantly will the UK's social landscape have changed?

    Presented by Jaega Wise, produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.

    • 28 min
    Joe Wicks: A Life Through Food, through lockdown

    Joe Wicks: A Life Through Food, through lockdown

    When Joe Wicks, the personal trainer, started making Instagram videos in his kitchen in 2014, he couldn't have imagined he'd become author of the second biggest selling UK cookbook of all time. He built a social media brand with millions of followers, nay disciples, on Instagram and YouTube who came for the quick healthy recipes and online fitness workouts.

    And then, just as he was about to embark on a tour of UK primary schools, the Coronavirus pandemic swept the world and the UK. We were told to stay at home. Schools closed. Overnight, Joe came up with an idea. What if he could keep P.E lessons running from people's front rooms?

    In this programme Sheila catches up with 'The Body Coach' to hear how the huge spotlight on him during lockdown has affected him and his family. And there's a chance to listen again to what happened when Sheila and Joe cooked together in 2019.

    Presented by Sheila Dillon.
    Produced by Clare Salisbury.

    • 28 min
    The Kitchen Front: How wartime food strategies influenced our eating ethos

    The Kitchen Front: How wartime food strategies influenced our eating ethos

    Making do, digging for victory, the hedgerow harvest, the garden front: food and farming was front and centre during the Second World War, with hearty phrases like these encouraging the population to pull together and do their bit for the national diet.

    Now, 75 years after Victory in Europe was declared, we’re hearing similar language in political speeches and across the media, as we “wage war” against coronavirus, in a country under lockdown.

    The rhetoric might be extreme – but as Sheila Dillon discovers, there are lessons to be learnt from the wartime eating ethos; particularly in this current climate of store-cupboard cooking, making do and reducing food waste.

    In fact, the war years marked a period when British diets and health actually improved. They also paved the way for agriculture’s Green Revolution, the expansion of processed and industrially produced edibles, and the drive towards cheap and plentiful food for all.

    As the UK marks a VE Day anniversary like no other, Sheila Dillon hears how the food legacy of WWII has influenced our modern diets - and considers what lessons we could still learn from the wartime eating ethos.

    Presented by Sheila Dillon; produced in Bristol by Lucy Taylor.

    • 28 min
    Sheffield: A story of a city through its food

    Sheffield: A story of a city through its food

    Leyla Kazim finds the independent spirit of Sheffield’s self-employed ‘little mesters’, who once combined to power the city’s steel industry, is now being channelled into new models for how food and drink can shape the future of cities. To guide her through the city’s story, artist Pete McKee and musician Richard Hawley tell Leyla what food was like in Sheffield when they were growing up, what’s changed and how a bottle of table sauce called Henderson’s Relish has become iconic.
    She has pie, chips and peas and a few drops of ‘the black stuff’ with Kane Yeardley who runs pubs and bars in the city, roasts coffee and brews beer with his company True North. Jules Gray from Hop Hideout bottle shop talks about striking out to move to run a bar, Matt Bigland who owns the city’s Cutlery Works food hall talks about the regeneration happening north of the city centre and Professor Vanessa Toulmin and Tim Nye sit down for a coffee at Marmadukes café near the famous Crucible Theatre to explain why the future of Sheffield’s independents could be opening up in the heart of the city.

    Presenter: Leyla Kazim
    Producer: Tom Bonnett
    Picture: Meat 'N' Tater Pie by Pete McKee

    • 29 min
    Bonus Podcast: More from Sheffield's Pete McKee and Richard Hawley

    Bonus Podcast: More from Sheffield's Pete McKee and Richard Hawley

    Hear an extended version of the interview with artist Pete McKee and musician Richard Hawley from the programme Sheffield: A Story of a City Through It's Food. Picture: Meat 'N' Tater by Pete McKee

    • 20 min

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