European suppliers “deliberately use cheaper meat to cut their costs”. OK. That was the Independent’s headline. It reminds me of the “Man Bites Dog editorial jibe. Yes, dog bites man is not news. Neither, I suspect, is this news actually news to anyone at all.
But then we get the entirely spurious offset into is “horse meat good or bad?” Well, a lot of chefs love it; it was a standard meat up to 1930s in the UK. It is widely eaten ‘abroad’. But this really is irrelevant. The producers of processed meat are using it and bits of pig because beef is expensive. If you make a burger yourself from butchers own mince it will cost you about 75p each. (our butchers has a mincing machine – does yours?) (Or do you do it yourself?) So why do we think buying value level stuff at 5 to 10p each means we will not be swindled?
Tesco’s shares dropped £300 million on the news breaking. The meat processing companies, Dalepak Hambleton in Yorkshire, Silvercrest and Liffey Meats in Ireland are likely to have a difficult time, I assume.
Like all the spokespeople have said, there is no danger to the public – it is all perfectly safe to eat.
It is just that we have been duped for profit.
This episode begs a lot of questions for me. (This could get political – turn away now if you might be offended…)
- Why do we not make the supermarkets label their meat – all of it – by the country of origin of the meat? Successive governments have been lobbied out of legislating for this, I believe. The producers seem to get around it by labeling the final processing plant’s country as the producer – what a terrible cop-out
- This is even more disturbing in these days of bird flu, mad cow disease, TB, swine flu, and foot and mouth disease. Where is the bio-security when the whole of the mechanically recovered meat industry seems to work in the shadows? If they are going to hide 29% of horse meat in a burger, are they going to be serious about animal welfare in the original producing area?
- Can’t we consider being self sufficient in meat as a five year plan? Maybe there is room for barn production of beef cattle to an extent. (Look – I bet you all like Danish bacon. Visit Denmark. You never see a pig. It’s because they are all indoors. They are happy, warm and well fed.)
- Why can’t more people cook from scratch? The demise of Home Economics is probably the biggest culprit in this whole story. If we knew how to cook, and how to use up left-overs, we would be healthier, throw away less and not have to buy ‘cheap’ food. Our food bills would be less.
I know I am biased – but Can Men Cook is a good read and shows you how to cook from scratch. End of advert. End of rant.