Saturday, 8 September 2012

Preserved Lemons & Bury Black Puddings

Short-sighted Boss Neil Long got it wrong at Bury MBC

DOWN South, Bury Market is renown for its Black Puddings.  Less well known are those of its citizens dedicated to oriental cuisine.  Hence, among the good Christian persons of Bury consuming pig's blood sausages there are foreign folk eating kosher food.  With this in mind, two years ago Neil Long, a senior manager at Bury MBC, embarked with his staff on a consultation exercise in Prestwich among the Jews and in those areas of town populated by people from the Indian sub-continent.  Then Mr. Long told us at a mass meeting of refuse operatives at Bradley Fold Waste Depot, near Bury, that he had consulted with these oriental communities to assure them that by introducing a fortnightly cycle of bin collection, rather than a weekly one, there would be no resulting deterioration in the service and no increased risk to health (see 6th, September posting 'Brown Bins & "Bury Belly".').

When I questioned Mr. Long on behalf of my members, as the UNITE Branch Secretary, about the possible risks to public health of the reduced collections he dismissed this arguing that so long as the bin lids were kept tightly shut there was no health risk.  On that occasion, as I recall, Jason McKenna, the Safety Representative at Bradley Fold, pounced upon this need for securely shut bin lids.  More recently this issue of closed bin lids has become an ongoing problem as to whether open lids present a physical risk to operatives;  it has been rumoured that it may have even been an underlying factor leading to the suspension of Jason McKenna, last November.  This issue is now closed and Jason has been reinstated at Bradley Fold but is still off work owing to the stress caused by the investigation.

And yet, the assumption that closed bid lids prevent maggot infestation, as Neil Long appeared to imply, is surely wrong.  I know this to be the case because this August just gone, while the Bury binmen were going down with 'Bury Belly' (see in the humid weather conditions while emptying oriental waste, I was busy marinating a couple of pounds of cubed lamb in my fridge with onions, garlic, parsley, coriander, spices and salt.  This marination had to continue for very nearly a week, because my branch of Tescos was all out of the vital ingredient of a jar of preserved lemons and I had to go all the way to Harvey Nichols in Leeds to get one.  These preserved lemons cost me all of £6.50, but when next day I came to insert them in the lamb marinade the maggot infestation in the tagine had reached such horrific proportions that even I with my frugal Jewish habits of avoiding waste at all costs I was forced to give it up as a bad job.  Now if this kind of thing can happen in a tagine sealed with a lid on in less than a week in a fridge, what would we expect to happen in a wheelie-bin outside in a fortnight?

The morale of this tale must be that Neil Long doesn't do the cooking otherwise he would have hesitated before proposing fortnightly collections for the brown bins, especially during the Summer months.  There are clearly health risks in cutting back on bin collections.

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