The global youth media company Vice has launched a new documentary series about how politics and policy affect what we eat. “The Politics of Food” is available through Vice’s online food channel, Munchies, and the first 20-minute episode investigates the underground trade in a West African delicacy called “smokies” that has been banned in the U.K. Smokies are made from a shorn, slaughtered sheep eviscerated with a blow torch and cooked in spices to create traditional stews. Because the skin, spine and intestines are kept intact during smoking, harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, or Listeria monocytogenes can contaminate the meat, although some research has shown that there is a safe method of production. The U.K. government banned smokies in 1987, but for immigrants like the Ghanaian family interviewed for the documentary who are seeking a taste of home, that doesn’t stop them from getting the meat where they can. And such demand for the meat has led to “back alley” production, predominantly in Wales. It’s issues like this intersection of tradition and policy that Munchies finds interesting and wants to explore in “The Politics of Food.” “Our hosts will investigate all sides of these charged topics to uncover the emotional, financial, ethical, and environmental impacts around what we consume,” the company says. Upcoming episodes deal with fois gras production, the global ban on seal meat, and fast-food unions. Cappi Williamson, communications manager for VICE, says that food safety “will probably factor into most episodes of the series in one way or another.” The series will air monthly, and the company has six episodes scheduled for the next several months.