I can’t hold it in anymore. I have to have a rant about this horsemeat scandal that is the latest food scare to sweep Europe because I simply cannot believe that horse can be passed off as beef in this day and age.
First of all I declare myself fully as a dedicated horse lover – I’ve been riding since I was 7 and it is an ambition to have one one day, preferably a foal whom I can break in myself. However, this issue has nothing to do with animal loving, and as a rule the Brits are a bit more sentimental about animals than other Europeans, but everything to do with the security of the food chain.
After the mad cow problems (la vache folle)in the UK and subsequent foot and mouth in sheep, a system of traceability was put in place for all bovine meat. The idea being to be able to trace the meat from field to plate. So the control starts with the farmer – each animal has its’ own ID and kind of health book, presumably the abbatoir has, or should have its’ own checks and so on down the chain to the supermarkets or us, the restaurateurs. I buy big chunks of meat from various suppliers, all furnished with loads of information: what meat, often nowadays what breed, dates of birth, death and when it was butchered AND in what countries. It’s surprising how meat can travel. I imagine a whole load of cattle or carcasses constantly moving about about all over the place. Quite often they can be raised, slaughtered, butchered and then sold in different countries which probably makes them better travelled than me. Anyhow, the million dollar question really is: how on earth did NOONE notice that horsemeat was entering the food chain? Because it then begs the question – what else could be slipping through? All it takes is one horribly poisoned widely eaten food product, er such as beef, and we have mass (ive) murder on the hands of whoever’s left alive. Probably a vegetarian. It is a human right to know what it is we are eating. What we then do with the knowledge is up to the individual.
I have a couple of related questions: surely there must be a shortage of horses or someone must have noticed big movements in horses, because we are talking hundreds and hundreds of tons of it. The company reasonably local to here, Spanghero, is alleged to have taken delivery of 20 something tons in one delivery.
Second question, how does a Dutchman, already convicted for passing off S American horses as beef, get to continue trading in the same business?
At this stage in proceedings it seems to me that an inspectorate at the abbatoir/distribution level has to make regular inspections to see that products are indeed what they claim.
Oh, and a third question, how can anyone be so unscrupulous as to knowingly lie about something so important as what we put in our bodies? The fact that some of the horse carcasses coming from the UK to France (thanks) contain a vet strength anaesthetic atests to the indisputable need for a real clamp down and some real control of our food chain.