Nevermind the horsemeat, where’s the beef?

Date: 21 Feb, 2013
Posted by: admin
In: life & family|reuse

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Wherein I opine about the recent horsemeat scandal in the UK.

Horsemeat in our burgers!

So what?

Daily Telegraph: Horse meat in burgers for years

A scandal has broken recently about various companies, many companies, being found to have horsemeat in their beef products [primarily]. There has also been some concern about contamination of other meats with pork or beef which some don’t eat on religious grounds.

What is happening?

It seems so far there have been test carried out and companies have been shamed in the media for passing off horse as beef. TBH this doesn’t concern me in the slightest, I’m not averse to considering horse a food animal. Horsemeat is a bit of a diversion from the wider issue IMO. What is genuinely worrying is the origin of all meat going in to these products and that the complex bureaucratic procedures that are supposed to allow meat to be traced from product back to the originating farms have entirely failed.


This means there is no proper assessment of all meat used for the meat’s origin, fitness for human consumption, contamination – nothing it seems can be trusted.

But how could they have caught it?

It’s not rocket science. I’m sure this is a simplification  but source factories can be assessed on one figure: difference between beef meat output and properly procured beef meat input.

That should take no more than 5 minutes to check. Products have a stated weight of beef in them, paperwork shows the exact amount of beef properly procured. Find the difference and if they shipped out more  meat than they have paperwork for then you fine them and dismiss the directors in charge of procurement.

Companies need to be fined hard for failing to ensure their food products contain only meat that is fit for human consumption. No company involved should have a fine less than it’s annual profits IMO even if this means giving an extended period in which to pay (at regular loan interest rates of course).

Farm assured?

This then also brings in to doubt all the labelling of foods. Horse AFAIK is not slaughtered in the UK yet it got in to the supply chains of most major food providers. So can we really trust them that their eggs are free range, their meat is “farm assured” (or whatever), that their organic produce doesn’t simply bear a fraudulent label?

To me it seems that trust has been broken. There is a question about how the government could have let such a widespread abuse happen in the human food chain but what I wait to see is how severely the abuse will be handled. As intimated above for a company with such poor procurement control to make any profit from sales would be IMO completely wrong. Sadly our government appear to sit in the pockets of big business, representing as it does the purposes of the rich, so I suspect what will happen is a new quango, some jobs-for-the-boys in assessment and review of the problem and a careful and quiet slip of the issue from the media gaze and in to obscurity … at least until the next major food based human health crisis.

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