“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Bread „
So I was reading a Saturday edition of the 'Daily Mail' a while ago and though I wish I could say I'd only bought it for the 'free DVD of 'the Graduate' offer' or what have you, in all honesty I think I purchased that particular edition of that newspaper just because it was there.
About half way through this Saturday 'Mail' then, I found an extremely worryingly article - illustrated with helpful dotted-line diagram - on the modern uses to which domestic pigs are currently put. I say 'worrying' because far from all of these involved what I'd call 'wholesome' or 'traditional' uses - such as say, smoking the belly flesh of pigs and then eating it cut into thin slices with fried eggs, for breakfast. Please note that the depiction used in the paper was of a female pig which means that the worst modern use of domestic pigs I've ever heard of was, sadly, omitted from that particular article.*
In any case, it seems that an amino acid dervied from pig hair - which is known as L-cystine (additive number E921) is used in certain, mostly highly-processed bread products as a 'flour improver' - including these Tesco-brand Plain Tortilla Wraps, of which I had purchased a packet the previous month. While at times I can justabout - almost - stomach the idea of 'mechanically recovered meat' - because of course, no animal is made entirely out of prime cuts of breast fillet and steak - and in a way understandably, meat producers have to find something to do with all the skin and eyelids and lower-grade gristly and tendon-filled bits - there still seems something profoundly 'unnatural' to me about the idea of effectively eating another animal's HAIR.
Apart from the larvae of certain beetles and moths, I can't think of anything that's a specialist in eating HAIR - and certianly no higher organisms do it - unless of course they're mentally deranged individuals, perhaps. This L-cystine stuff is the kind of food additive people should get hopping mad about. I think the use of it in an otherwise apparently innocuous product like 'Tesco Plain Tortilla Wraps' just demonstrates the profound degree of contempt in which modern-day food producers, and retailers such as 'Tesco' hold their customers. I am, quite literally outraged by this.
As for the eating qualities of the Tortilla Wraps themselves, whatever the L-cystine was supposed to have done for them in terms of 'improving' the product clearly hadn't worked, because the ones I had were tough as old leather boots and had an unplesant sort of sheeny / almost waxy 'gloss' over the surfaces that made them pretty unpleasant to eat. In short the texture was bad, and they tasted of absolutely nothing at all. I can't remember what they cost - probably around the 80-odd-p mark for a packet of far too many for three people to eat at one sitting before the sell-by date expired; we threw away at least half the packet I bought, thank goodness. I was far from impressed by these stupid flatbreads even before I found out about their 'secret ingredient'.
If you like Tortilla Wraps there are many other brands (eg the Phineas Fogg ones) on the market that don't contain broken-down pig-hair in their ingredients list, and which cost an equivalent amount of money, so given the choice I'd suggest you opt for something made by someone else instead.
*Note for the squeamish: you may not wish to read any further, particularly if you're a pregnant woman soon to be admitted to hospital for an artificial induction of labour.
...you can't say you haven't been warned....
The worst use for a pig product I've ever encountered (unfortunately this was personally) is for (hopefully pasturized) pig spunk - semen collected from male boars - which is squirted up the jacksies of preganant women in the form of a prostaglandin pessary in order to artificially induce labour. Lovely NHS! A bit too much even for the 'Mail' on Saturday, a use for pigs like that.