It has been in the news quite a bit this week.
Unfortunately I think the truth is that unless you grow it, make it and cook it you can’t be 100% sure what is in the food that you eat.
The more you think about it the scarier it can get.
We are meant to have complete traceability of meat from farm to finished product. Where I am you can walk past a field of beef cattle and see that each one of them has a separate ear tag and its own unique number. So, at what point did it happen ?? Oops, it’s horse meat !!!! In theory this CAN’T happen but it has and we can’t ignore it…..
So we need to start looking at WHY it has happened. The large supermarkets have enormous buying power and this is used to put pressure on suppliers. Just imagine you are the owner/manager of any company that supplies a large supermarket chain. You have been supplying them for years, in fact now with the way that people shop they are your ONLY customer…. they then turn round and instead of asking you what your products will cost they TELL you what they are going to pay for them and this happens to be lower than you can currently make them for… Do you :
A) Say no way, lose the business, close your factory, make hundreds of people unemployed – possibly people that have worked for you for many years and rely on you to make sure their families survive.
B) Take what is on offer and look at what you can do to make your product more cheaply – including using ingredients that aren’t on the label….
So, who is to blame for this ? The factory manager that produced the product ? The supermarket chains that drive prices to unsustainably low levels ? or is it the pressure from investors on the supermarket chains to produce bigger and bigger profits each year ??
I don’t know who is to blame but no doubt “someone” will be held to account. I feel that the causes behind this run far deeper than just putting horse meat in place of beef (no-one noticed). I understand the potential safety issues around supplying meat that may be classified as unfit for human consumption and that you haven’t been getting quite what you thought… but I don’t think the root causes of this problem are as straight forward as we may be told.