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There’s a big feature in Abu Dhabi’s The National today about food security. It begins with a profile of the McNugget — the paragon of globalized food:There is one more piece of information that might reassure those concerned about food miles and the effect on the environment or looking for a local stamp of quality. Produced and packaged by Al Islami, United Arab Emirates.
But there is more to the nuggets than meets the eye. The chicken is from Brazil, the bread crumbs from the United Kingdom and the wheat imported from Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Paraguay. The vegetable fat is processed in the UAE, but made from canola seeds imported from Canada.
Spain supplies the emulsifiers, Germany the salt and stabilisers, while the dextrin, which enhances crispness, is Chinese. The spices are from India, of course, as are the flavour enhancer and textured vegetable protein.
Fourteen ingredients and 11 countries. Here in a simple box of chicken nuggets is the country’s food supply in all its complexity – a global web of suppliers, producers and farmers who fill the shelves of supermarkets and corner shops in a desert land that once survived on little more than dates, fish and camels’ milk.