opinion

A Melbourne Coles is taking security measures to protect its meat supply.

Security tags have been placed on meat at a Coles supermarket in the Melbourne suburb of Knox.

It might seem minor, but we need to talk about this: what is going on with our cost of living that basic food is the target of theft?

Last week, a Melbourne Kmart made headlines for locking chocolate bars in security casing.

Placing chocolate in anti-theft cases is amusing, but there is something very sad about having to ensure nobody steals meat.

The meat security measures were first reported by the Knox Leader after one shopper noticed tags placed on steaks.

The tags, though seemingly harmless, speak to a larger problem. Surely the supermarket giant wouldn’t slap on a series of tags for one shady shopper, but they might do it after a series of incidents.

The Knox Leader reported the customer asked a Coles employee about the tags, only to be told they were to prevent theft.

Coles told Mamamia the tags were simply a security measure to reduce theft in the store.

“EAS (electronic article surveillance) tags are one of the range of security measures we have in place to reduce theft from our stores,” a spokesperson said.

But can you blame the woman who steals the loaf of bread to feed her family? Is a piece of meat not just the 2016 equivalent of that loaf?

It is, after all, a basic item whose pricing is being placed further and further out of reach.

The ABC reported the price of meat hit a record high this year when the 600 cent per kilogram carcass weight was reached for the first time in January.

Meat is not the only food item expected to maintain a high level of cost.

Commonwealth Bank senior economist Michael Workman told the Sydney Morning Herald in January he anticipated the cost of living was set to rise.

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“There is this huge population to the north of Australia whose diets are changing. It’s definitely a medium-term trend,” he said.

Watch: Meat is a great source of protein but be careful of your portion size. (Post continues after video.)

“It applies not only to the meats area but a lot of the other value added food items around wine and juices, and what we’ve seen around dairy and baby products is quite extraordinary.

“So it looks like food prices, particularly some of the fresh food products that are involved in export markets, will continue to rise for domestic consumers.”

The comments came in the context of how the rising affluence of the Asian market placed pressure on Australian products also sold as exports.

Focusing back on the smaller picture: the security measure could be the result of the rising cost of meat.

But that raises the question about why meat has been targeted when other high-value items like whole turkeys have sat unmarked.

It’s sad that meat is being targeted as an item in need of added security but it is even sadder that people are stealing it.

Featured Image: Twitter/Herald Sun.

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