One Fat Lady Calls the Naked Chef a `Whore Who Has Sold His Soul' over Sainsbury's Salmon ; Clarissa Dickson Wright Accuses Jamie Oliver over His Endorsement of Controversial Fish Farm and `a Product He Doesn't Eat'

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Described as fake, a bit slimy and not very good for you, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was yesterday forced to defend the reputation of the smoked salmon he is promoting this Christmas.

Oliver, already reeling from complaints about his London restaurant, is now under assault from environmentalists, who claim Sainsbury's smoked salmon comes from fish farms that damage the environment.

It is a celebrity-charged quarrel over the quality of the food we eat. It is a row over whether intensive fish farming is ruining Britain's sensitive marine environment and whether, as some campaigners claim, retailers are putting profits before safety.

Today Oliver's opponents are to picket the restaurant, Fifteen, in a campaign backed by another TV chef, Clarissa Dickson Wright, who says her rival has "sold his soul" to the supermarket giant and become a culinary "whore".

Oliver, the "face" of Sainsbury's, features prominently in its current television campaign, which shows him visiting a salmon farm in Inverness- shire.

But the environmentalists say the fish comes from a farm which has been criticised by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). They also claim the fish is not good enough to be put on the restaurant menu.

"Jamie Oliver is supporting what is probably a defective farm and he is supporting a product which he doesn't eat," said Ms Dickson Wright.

"I think he's a whore. Isn't that what whores do, take money for something they wouldn't do otherwise. Jamie has just sold his soul carte blanche to Sainsbury's and turns up wherever they want him. It makes me very sad because he sold his talents."

A spokesperson for the SEPA confirmed it is discussing a programme of "remedial action" with Marine Harvest, the owners of the farm.

Brian Sandison, chairman of the Salmon Farm Protest Group co- ordinating the campaign, said: "To try and hold this company up as a wonderful example of excellence in environmental probity and producing high-quality salmon is complete and utter rubbish - and that is what has outraged so many of our supporters."

The row has even spread on to Oliver's website forum. Several contributors have railed against his support for farmed salmon in recent days. Pete Begg, Fifteen's executive chef, also weighed in, admitting that farmed fish was not used in the restaurant but claimed Sainsbury's products were better than most.

"We thought this was a better product and a step in the right direction, and that's why he went with it," he said.

US scientists warned in January that eating too much Scottish farmed salmon could pose a cancer risk. Researchers at State University of New York claimed that chemical levels found in the fish were so high that people should eat no more than two ounces a month.

Following the publication of the research, in the American journal Science, several Scottish fish farms closed down and the price of farmed salmon slumped. …