Are food manufacturers making an ass out of us?

So now donkey, goat, “water buffalo” and soya have been found in processed meat products in South Africa according to News 24 today.

“Cape Town – There’s a fair share of fraudulent meat products on the South African market, according to a new study by meat scientists from Stellenbosch University.

The study found that anything from soya, donkey, goat and water buffalo were to be found in up to 68% of the 139 minced meats, burger patties, deli meats, sausages and dried meats that were tested. In other cases, even undeclared plant matter was detected.”


What do bloggers think about this?  Personally I give processed meat a wide berth unless it comes from a reliable source. I generally don’t trust sausages, polonies or what I spotted at Pick n Pay the other week “Mince Mix” which had a list of ingredients longer than I had time to read.

Frozen “Beef” burger patties usually taste disgusting and I prefer to make my own, but should I now buy the meat whole and mince it myself like my mother used to do to ensure that I am not getting any unwanted additives?

We stopped eating polony type meats years ago when I learnt about the dangers of all the chemical additives needed to preserve the minced meat ingredients.

I know some people think meat is meat but if you paying for beef it is beef and only beef you should get. I don’t have a problem if people want to eat horse, donkey or goat provided they know what they are eating and the product is labelled correctly.

I have always been very suspicious of minced chicken because chicken goes off so quickly and any frozen minced chicken product that has had its cold chain compromised is a danger as far as I am concerned.

I have eaten goat stew and quite enjoyed it; it is after all an animal farmed for its milk and meat. But I won’t eat horse, dog, cat, rabbit, crocodile and don’t like venison or ostrich and I certainly would not like to find out that I have eaten it without knowing.

Then there are the rib burger patties – do people really fall for that nonsense?  Do the general public have any clue what is added to these reconstituted meat products to bind them? Pink slime Jamie Oliver called it, obtained from putting the butchered carcass in some type of centrifuge to spin off any remaining flesh sticking to the bones with some sort of glue added. The very thought of it is enough to turn me into a vegetarian!

We don’t eat any processed foods, except for bacon, which at least is still identifiable although supposedly not that good for you, but we only have it about once every two weeks.

I realise that many of these foods may appear to be cheap, although I don’t think that they are as cheap here in South Africa as they are in the UK.

Will this revelation change your shopping and eating habits?


Still stressed

After two weeks of stress, sleepless nights and anxiety I found out yesterday that my major client is cutting my fee by 20%, based on comparing apples and pears, oh and greed!

It’s not as bad as the two-thirds cut they first mentioned but it is still significant for our little budget and sacrifices will have to be made until I can find a way to make up the deficit. So I will be working harder and longer for less.

But what makes me the most upset is the way this has been handled, there was no regard for the emotional trauma that I have endured for the past two weeks, not knowing how bills will be paid. And this from people that I have had a very good working relationship with until now!


So whilst I still have an income, albeit reduced, the joy I had in working with this client has evaporated and I don’t know if I will ever get it back.

Added to that I am having to deal much more closely with some prime a/holes instead of working at a respectable safe distance and that will increase my frustration levels if the past two weeks are anything to go by.


It’s hard to get your head around being told for years that you are doing such a great job and then have your fee cut by 20% for no good reason. The restructuring that is behind the cut in my fee has not been thought through very well at all.  I asked a simple question about procedures and was made to feel like I had asked a stupid question. I am now at the mercy of the administratively ungifted.


I spent another sleepless night last night trying to work through my emotions and today I feel like absolute sh1t. I know I will get over this and maybe even something better will come up but two weeks of extreme anxiety has taken its toll on my physical and emotional health. This is all I can manage at the moment:

Hug the dog

Stress and Sleepless Nights

And so begins another week of uncertainty. I feel utterly exhausted by the lack of sleep and worry about our future. In all probability I will only know where I stand by the end of the week and it’s a busy week with lots of meetings through which I will have to smile and behave as normal whilst inside my stomach is cramping and churning like a cement mixer. The dark rings under my eyes are not doing me any favours either.

I prepared a worst case scenario budget and even by eliminating all voluntary savings we are going to be in the poo.  An aspect probably not thought through by my client is that to a large extent my operating costs will remain the same so every printer cartridge I have to purchase, every ream of paper, every telephone call will still eat into my fee reducing my income even further.

My once a week char lady will have to be let go, our twice a month gardener who has worked for us for the past 16 years will have to be reduced to once a month. Our holiday home which we own as part of a syndicate may have to be given up altogether although our son and DIL have indicated that they would like to pick up at least half the payment due. The holiday home was meant to feature hugely in OH’s retirement years and to be passed on to son and DIL who love it as much as we do. Losing it will be a bitter blow for the family.

Saddest of all, is the knowledge that there will be no chance of seeing our daughter and granddaughter unless they come to SA.

The ridiculous thing about all this is that we are not talking about a huge amount of money, just what would qualify as a very average SA salary, one on which you would be lucky to get a mortgage on anything more that a small apartment in an undesirable location. We have never lived extravagantly, and that is how we managed to afford our share of the holiday house. We have been through tough times before so I know how to budget and make food go further. OH will never give up on repairing something that has broken until he has tried everything he can. The difference now is our ages and the fact that our future earning potential is not good whereas in our younger days we had the hope that things would get better.

In September last year we sat down with our Financial Advisor and worked out a five-year plan that was sensible and somewhat frugal to try and add to retirement capital instead of depleting it too soon.  That five-year plan did not have a chance …

Financial Meltdown

My life has been turned upside down.

My major client has decided that they need to cut costs and want to cut my fee by two thirds.

I am in turmoil

Our very survival is on the line

That it has been badly handled has added to the stress

I sat up most of last night trying to find a way out of this imminent financial disaster

I now have to justify what I do for them and what my expenses are

I have worked with this client and more or less the same group of people for 15 years

If they don’t know my worth by now I doubt I will be able to convince them of it

The pressure is coming from the headoffice and the puppets here are just rolling over and expecting me to do the same.

What they are suggesting is not sustainable financially

They had this year’s budget before the end of September last year. Now it is being questioned.

OH retired in November last year

His annuity draw down for this year was based on my expected earnings

Now this …

With apologies to Granny for the one-liners. I am not capable of full sentences right now.

Unexpected (and unwelcome) visitors

We are currently at our holiday home and my internet is a bit patchy plus I have to conserve my data bundle for the more important business of paid work so that is why I have not been very active on the blogs lately.

But I thought I would share with you all the surprise we got in the early hours of the morning last week when Milo barked, two short sharp barks. His bed is in our bedroom on my side and I flipped on my torch to see what his problem was.  Imagine my shock when the pool of torchlight illuminated this unwelcome presence:



Apologies for the blurry photo, I don’t think my hands were capable of being steady at that moment. Milo was still in his bed not two feet away from the snake keeping a beady eye on it. I told OH that there was a snake and he sprung out of bed, put his slippers on and grabbed a mop (without the mop head) and placed it on the snakes body just below it’s head. Meanwhile I called Milo onto the bed to keep him safe.  Ozzy was asleep in the lounge completely unaware of the drama in the next room. At that stage we had no idea what kind of snake we were dealing with. I fetched an old ice bucket and OH guided the snake into ice bucket and put the lid on.

We then tried to get back to sleep but I read for a very long time, unwilling to put the light out.  The following day consultation with locals identified the snake as a common house snake, not venomous but still capable of a painful bite. It was however just short of a metre in length!

That evening after watching some television we got up to go to bed and as OH went into the bedroom he found another snake, same brand, but much smaller. At this stage enough was enough and the second unwelcome visitor was summarily despatched to snake heaven if such a place exists.  We have been told that they are usually in pairs so we probably slept with them both in the bedroom for a night or two which gives me the “grills”:  Now we check under the bed and behind the curtains daily just in case.

I concede that we are on their territory and outside I am prepared to live and let live as long as we and the dogs are not in any danger but when they venture inside they are on my turf and most unwelcome.

We are so proud of Milo who is just 8 months old now for raising the alarm and not trying to take the snake on. Must be his street smart ancestry keeping him safe!

Have a good week blogpeeps, I will try and pop by and visit you all in due course.