When I first saw the headline I thought “My God, an ABBA revival concert!” and started checking the listings for Sala Kongresowa!
1980’s Swedish meat
However, it turns out that this is a far more sinister plot that should have everyone who’s eaten pierogi z mięsem in a Krakow bar mleczny heading for the toilet.
Almost 200 tonnes of 1980s Swedish canned meat has found its way into Polish schools, nursing homes and grocery stores.
The conserved meat was produced as early as the 1980s for long-term storage purposes during the Cold War and was not meant to find its way to any European Union member state for retail sale or human consumption. The Swedish Agricultural Ministry claims that the sales contract stipulates that the cans of beef and pork are meant for animal feed only. TVN24 reports that, over the last three years, hundreds of thousands of cans of the Swedish-produced meat have been sold in Poland and been turned into popular dishes such as pierogi (dumplings), stuffed cabbage, sausage, head cheese and more.
There are many things I might expect to have happened in Sweden during the cold war but the production of hundreds of thousands of tins of everlasting beef is not one of them. By the way, can anyone tell me what is “head cheese”, sounds delicious!
The Swedish government attempted to sell the meat in 1999. It was purchased by a Swedish distributor and, in 2007, a contract was signed with a Polish distributor registered in Krakow, southern Poland, to purchase 100,000 cans that amounted to 185 tonnes of ground meat.
I wonder how many pierogi and gołąbki it takes to use of 185 tonnes of dodgy mince? Can it all have been used up since 2007? Is it safe to venture into the restaurants of Krakow yet?
Pretty nasty little story and, sadly, entirely believable. It really does make you think again about what exactly it is you are eating in some of these places and whilst the roadside cafes and low cost eateries might be the obvious suspects I’m sure they are not the only ones taking advantage of lower food costs. Then again, maybe the Krakow distributor was just keeping it for their own use or shipping it back out to Belarus or somewhere with nice new labels on it. Perhaps that’s why there were so many customs agents on the road when I drove to Lithuania this week – on the hunt for 26 year old mince.
Not the only food related story to be found either. There’s the case of “Mass poisoning at fish processing plant” in northern Poland as well. My bet is they were cloning ‘Panga’, what the Polish call the Iridescent shark, a type of catfish almost as ugly and tasteless as our old friend the Carp. If ever there was a dodgy fish then Panga is it. I don’t think it actually comes from something that was swimming around with fins and things, my guess is it’s a kind of fungus grown on the inside of septic tanks. Hence the need to poison people when cleaning them out!
So many unanswered questions, so little time.
Anyway -enjoy your lunch!