Every time you switch on the television for the News or listen to the news on the radio there seems to be even more breaking information about the contamination of beef products with horse meat. The Government say these are perfectly safe to eat; but I seem to remember not so long ago the same assurances being given about beef during the BSE crisis so why should we believe what politicians say now. I remember one Cabinet member in those days feeding a Beef Burger to his child to prove that they were safe. Recently, it was almost de je vu when the Prime Minister was shown chomping a meat product. Does this prove supermarket meat products are all safe; of course not. Many are but equally many possibly aren’t and how do we, the consuming public, know the difference. For many people eating horse is very much a no-no. I ate horse meat, many years ago when Ann and I were in transit from East to West Germany. I have to say it was as tough as old boots. I was talking to some one recently who had spent a period as a student in Rome a few years ago when horse meat was regularly on the menu served to the students and was much enjoyed.
The point is, whether or not it is safe, these supermarket products are retailed as Beef not horse or for that matter pork as some it has been found.to have been contaminated by pork. If the scandal over meat products containing horse meat is not bad enough even more disturbing is the fact that some meat products, served to institutions as halal, contain pork and has been served to Muslims.
Supermarket labelling is frequently misleading. A friend recently purchased some “cod” fish cakes only to discover that 41% was other white fish. We learnt yesterday that some chicken pies now include feathers, suitably processed. Labels often say “100% British Beef” except the meat has come from a variety of different countries but can be called British because it has been processed in Britain.
However the greatest problem for the many consumers, in this time of recession, is how to feed a family on a limited income. Inevitably they look for cheapest products and one way of making cheap meat products it now appears, is to use horse meat. It would be better for health and for the good of the community if we used our local butchers; we would then know what we were buying.