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Brian Reade's Column: Forget the mutant veg .. it's this outbreak of celebrity chef disease that's got me really scared.

I AM as sympathetic to this latest food scandal as I would be to Anthea Turner if she ran past me with her hair on fire due to exposure to too many TV studio lights.

And there are two reasons why.

First is that one of the groups behind the great GM scare is Friends Of The Earth. Hippies who call road-builders rapists, then live up trees believing they are doing the environment a favour, when all they are doing is making the trees itch.

If I was the Earth I would be suing them for daring to call me their friend.

Crucially, their ludicrous scaremongering about mutating soya beans is distracting us from the real scandal in our food industry today - the explosion of celebrity cooks on TV, in newspapers and magazines, extolling the virtues of trendy, healthy, yet ultimately unobtainable food.

And their pretentious out-pourings have made us all mutate into vegetables who feel we are unsophisticated swill-eaters unless we trawl around Sainsbury's looking for ingredients for polpetti.

That's meatballs to you.

These are the real Baron Frankensteins who are making fortunes by unleashing a desire in people to eat above their station.

Look at the motley collection of Hammer Horror clones who pop up on TV with a spatula in their hands: Two Fat Ladies, Gary Rhodes, Ainsley Harriott, Anthony Worrall-Thompson, Rick Stein and Keith Floyd.

All are former humans injected with a rare bullshit gene which turns them into obnoxious mutants speaking in a strange language.

They have stopped us going to the chippie and the butcher's and made us go on vain searches for exotic objects such as wilted rocket, orange Venezuelan chillies and parmigiano reggiano to stuff up a quail's jacksie.

And scientists have not studied the long-term effects on humans. But the short-term effects are horrific enough. People are suffering acute anxiety attacks for not knowing their Es from their elbows, we are becoming illiterate because the only literature read is on the side of boxes in fridges and our children are growing up thinking food is something you can only talk about in Italian.

Tony Blair is right to dismiss this non-scandal. But he must urgently set up a task force to stop the ugly virus of celebrity chefs spreading any further.

Ask yourself this question: Would you rather be force fed mutated burgers and risk turning into a member of the Munsters, or eat Floyd, the Fat Ladies and Rhodes and turn into an alcoholic elephant with a head that looks as if it's just met a ghost?

Think about it.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Reade, Brian
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 18, 1999
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