If you’ve been reading the newspapers lately you noticed that there are pictures of leeks all over the place (purreløk = leek in English = poireau in French). This seems just like another vegetable, you would think. Right now in Norway it THE current storm because Bama, a Norwegian company, started selling leeks individually in a plastic and cut the top dark green part of it instead of selling it lose.
Believe it or not, this lady started a campaigns with her daughter against leeks in plastic, and she went on TV to say how provoqued they had been seeing these vegetables in plastic, without their dark green leefs (you know, that top part no one eats anyway. Oh wait, it is useful, you can scratch your cat with it!).
Then, more than 10,000 persons liked the campaign page on facebook and blogs started talking about it (yes well, no exception here), but especially mammablogs in this case, where everyone goes with their opinion: pro or con packages leeks. It seems like every single newspaper and TV channel is talking about this right now in Norway, from NRK with their article “say no to amputated leeks”. Jesus how dramatic! remember it’s a VEGETABLE; to E24 with “I don’t know what I should call this product, but it was written “leek” on the package”.
In the meantime I can’t help wonder: Isn’t this going just a little out of proportions? More importantly, I am puzzled about this and have many questions to Norwegian people:
1) I am definitely against the over-use of plastic in food packaging, but I can’t help wonder why on Earth this is suddenly such a scandal with leeks: almost every vegetable is under plastic in Norway and sold individually. It is one of the first things that actually did shock me when I went into a Norwegian supermarket: Aubergines/eggplant, zucchini, coliflower (blomkål), cabbage (kål) and so on. While in the South of France where I come from these vegetables are super cheap, super fresh because produced locally, and sold loosely by the kilo. So if every other vegetable is already sold in plastic, what is the big deal about leeks? I just don’t understand.
2) Most of the food and even the vegetables we eat are transformed, packages, modified, cut, cleaned etc. sometimes in several different countries at every step of the way before it gets into our plates. Not only are many products over packaged, but sometimes a lot of energy is also used to transport them from where it is cheaper to produce, transform and sell them. So, are Norwegian shocked at packaged leek only or is this going to become a general campaign against packaged vegetables in supermarkets? Is this the beginning of a bigger campaign against all types of over-packaging and unnecessary transformations of our vegetables: carrots under plastic, pre-cooked beetroots and orphan genetically modified corn?
3) I can’t help being a little shocked myself by this. I mean seriously. I love the concept of regular citizens taking over a case and making a public campaign out of it, but aren’t there other relevant and burning issues right now to get shocked over? Let’s not even talk about real wars and real Syrian orphans and let’s stick to the Norwegian food industry. I was sitting next to a Norwegian girl in the train who had four times the accepted level of mercury in her blood because of consumption of too much Norwegian fish. Isn’t that worth talking about in every single Norwegian newspaper? What about the thousands of pre-prepared meals Norwegians eat every day, consuming high dosis of preservatives, sugar and modified fat? I won’t og on with what we give to eat to the animals we eat, you know the story. Does this mean that Norwegians have become food-conscious and will start challenging the quality and producing of everything else that isn’t a leek?
What gives me hope is that this scandal is the proof that virtually anyone can start a public debate in Norway about almost anything and potentially change things. As you can imagine after this news storm, Bama has taken its product off the market. ooouufff now we can move on to zucchinis.