Thursday, June 28, 2012

Swarming in the pasta pack - Pattaya, Thailand

I open a pack of pasta and just when I am about to pour it into a bowl and weigh it I notice with disgust that dozens of little black hairy insects are crawling among the penne. I'll have to throw it away, damn, it was a new 1kg-pack. Well, at least I didn't eat it. 
When I return to the supermarket where I bought it I shake a few more packs of the same (Italian) brand and I take a close look at them: from behind a rigatone or a pennetta rigata one of the small animals often sticks its head out. This supermarket must have received an infested batch. I change shop, carry out the same test and obtain the same result. This means that the problem is bigger than I thought. Maybe a whole container of this pasta brand has been attacked. Then I have a hunch. I grab random packs of other brands, Italian, French, Australian: some of them are infested. It's a mess. I don't think the health-related risk is particularly serious, as the pasta is usually boiled for several minutes, disgusting!
I can't be the only one who noticed this. And while the thought is taking shape in my mind I put together fragments of memories, images, sensations. Those free sauce cans taped to the packs, the suspicious discounts, the smart shelf layouts. Slowly I start to grasp the most disconcerting aspect of the situation: these guys know everything and instead of complaining with those who come before them in the supply chain or scrapping the whole batch and lose money...they still try to sell it on the sly! And I wouldn't be surprised if they had already greased the wheels that will save their asses in case someone protests or even sues them. 
Poor consumers. It's a dirty war, us against them all, we've got to keep our yes wide open if we don't want to succumb.

Image: one of those insects in a pack of penne rigate

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