The “Fresh” Chicken That Traveled the World

Reporting from Sao Paulo and Great Britain, the Telegraph puts together a great story on a Pret a Manger “fresh” chicken sandwich. Why the reporting from Sao Paulo, you might reasonably wonder? The fresh chicken is, as it turns out, frozen chicken from Brazil.

Here’s the gemstone at the core of this story:

“Pret a Manger, the sandwich chain which boasts of using only ‘fresh, natural ingredients,’ rears its chickens in small farms around Marau, in the south east of Brazil, and then sends them to Perdigao for processing and freezing. The frozen, raw meat is then shipped thousands of miles across the Atlantic to be defrosted, cooked and put in sandwiches. Until Pret changed its website this week, consumers were not told of the food’s origins.”

Also to the story’s credit, it investigates working and farming conditions in Brazil, and reports that they’re not a horror show: Workers make a small but not appalling wage, often suffer from repetitive stress injuries, and work in cold, wet processing plants that lead to ill health … well, maybe it’s a bit of a horror show. The piece is a good read for anyone who ever considers believing anything told to him by a large food company, under just about any circumstances.

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