Maybe you read about this; people dying in British Nation Health hospitals having eaten sandwiches that contained listeria, which came from the Good Food Chain company, which has now gone out of business, amid accusations of a cover up.
Now, I gather that for most people listeria is a fairly mild infection, causing food poisoning, but if you’re vulnerable - say a hospital patient – then it can kill you. And apparently it kills 46 people a year in England and Wales, though I don’t know how many of those are in hospital at the time.
And it turns that listeria seems to be everywhere, and is even acceptable within legal limits all over the food industry. My information comes from The Times which accompanied the article with a version of this picture by Andrew Testa of somebody making sandwiches. In fact I don't think this photograph was taken at a Good Food Chain facility.
And I did find this somehow alarming. Partly because the filling looks so meager, but far more because the sandwich maker is obviously pressing the prawns into the bread and getting mayo all over his (or possibly her) fingers.
And I did wonder whether I ought to be alarmed. These days all kinds of professions wear safety gloves: manicurists and tattooists, for instance, and not least people in food preparation. And maybe we’ve become squeamish.
Back in the day one assumed people always prepared food with their bare hands, so long as they weren’t dropping cigarette ash into your soup you thought you were doing OK. And in any case it doesn’t seem that the listeria at the Good Food Chain came from anybody’s hands, much less from a cigarette
And I kept thinking of the film Hiro Dreams of Sushi : a great chef, great sushi, and not a glove in sight. And no listeria either, as far as I know.
I was also amazed to read in that Times article that more that 4 billion sandwiches are sold in Britain every year.
And how about this – there’a a sandwich factory in Worksop owned by a company called, would you believe, Greencore, that produces 3 million sandwiches a week for Marks and Sparks, Sainsbury’s and Boots.
And there’s more - set your face to stunned - this company makes 900 (that’s nine hundred!!) different types of sandwich, including 300 new varities every year. I’ll let that sink in.