In this episode of The Politics of Food, Ben Ferguson explores the UK's developing unlawful trade in "smokies," a West African delicacy that has been banned in Europe since 1987. Venturing through an underground economy that works between rural Welsh ranchers and urban African groups, he reveals how black market brokers are risking prison to purchase and offer blowtorched sheep carcasses.
Ben additionally meets the sheep farmers and families who are battling to change the law, and in addition the researchers who caution that smokies can kill. At the focal point of this entire debate is Carmello Gale, an underground market gang boss—or a food freedom fighter, contingent upon who you talk to.
On the face of it, this exchange is a striking conflict of customs, and one that paints a precise picture of present day Britain. As the smokie trail winds its way through rustic domesticated animals markets to the homes of African expats, we perceive how the politics of food is molding our laws and—as some think—criminalizing certain societies.