Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The real issue

The scandal about products ranging from beef burgers to lasagne containing horse meat is gathering momentum in Britain. It seems that the meat in many so called “value” foods comes from either Irish horses or from spent nags butchered in Romania and can account of up to 100% of the content.

A lot of the blame is being placed on French companies that supplied meat to Comigel. Of course, Findus and others who used Comigel’s meat did not realise that they were being sold horse meat – right!

If they hadn’t bothered to test for horse meat in these cheap meals then the great British public would not be any the wiser. They must have been consuming horse meat for years without knowing and probably thought it was quite tasty. Pumped up with flavouring and other texture modifiers, it fooled everyone into thinking this was the real deal.

The real issue, in my opinion, is the deceit. If a product is labelled “beef”, then you expect it to be beef and not horse. If the meat mostly comes from horses then it should be labelled as such but if that was the case would anybody buy it?

“What’s for tea mum?” “Horse burgers and chips.” I don’t think so!

Supermarkets in Britain are now clearing the shelves of anything that might remotely contain horse meat but what will be left? Only the more expensive products that everyone thought were not worth the extra money. It will only be a matter of time before people want the value meals back with maybe the proviso that they are labelled “beef flavour” or just simply “meat”. In small, black on a dark background, print, that nobody can read it will say, “contains horse meat”.

1 comment:

Bill said...

20 years ago (perhaps even 10 years ago) the identification of the source of protein or other elements of human foodstuffs would have been impossible as DNA testing has only recently become available. The adulteration of food, by the substitution of less expensive ingredients, has been common for centuries. At least the present case of horse-meat substitution doesn't necessarily pose an actual danger to health, assuming that the nefarious 'bute' is not identified, unlike with the much more dangerous adulteration of milk with melamine in China a few years ago.

I have certainly, if not entirely by choice, eaten horse steak on occasion when I lived in France (and indeed when I lived in Morocco some years before that), and it didn't do me any harm, just as I have seen dogs in cages for the pot in both China and Vietnam when I lived there, although I am not aware I have eaten dog-meat myself, but I would not entirely rule it out as a possibility.