Cheap Meat Eats

As the horsemeat controversy reaches the other side of the pond, I realise that this is no longer a “very British scandal” and has more far-reaching effects.  Yet, it has all the hallmarks of being the Big British Story that dominated 2013, despite only being 2 months in.  It just isn’t going away.

I for one, have no issue with eating horsemeat if I am aware that I am eating it and that it has undergone the correct controls to ensure it is safe for human consumption.  I assume that we have been unaffected by this latest food scandal as we rarely eat meat and prefer to only buy British organic meat when we do.

However, of course, being British, many are up in arms at having been duped by the large supermarkets they claim to trust!  The tabloids have had a field day with their headlines, whipping up the paranoia while playing on the xenophobic tendencies of their readers.  We all laugh at the chicken and chips restaurants that proliferate the tourist hotspots of Europe, catering to a market too afraid to try food local to a place they probably can’t pronounce.  Now some of that food has infiltrated their favourite meals that they buy at home.  Zut alors!  Who can we sue?

Man surprised by food

¿’e put Basil in the ratatouille?

A quick browse of the comments to the news items on a tabloid’s website, brings up the sheer horror that such a diversion from our staple diet could produce:

these stores go on about choice well what about my choice not to eat horse…this should be in court & massive fines handed out to both

And:

This is a disgrace!!! I don’t care if it is safe to eat horse or whether burgers are full of all the rubbish bits of a cow anyway, if i eat a beef burger, i expect it to be exactly that, not a beef pork horse burger!!! I wouldn’t choose to eat Horse and am horrified to think that i’ve probably eaten it already!! Surely they cant just go adding a completely different meat to a burger without advertising it as that?

Of course, these comments are mixed up with the obligatory jokes that accompany any big news story, and the liberal responders that see all animals as equal and don’t understand why someone would be upset at eating horse if they’re happy to eat cow.  Which is kind of true.  But really, the crux of the scandal is that we trust our food suppliers to know what they are supplying us with, and how mixed up the food chain is.
I certainly hope that the outcome of the scandal results in more people buying British produce and perhaps even looking a little more closely at food labels.  I think that we have become lazy and spoiled when it comes to what we eat.  We want it cheap and easy, we don’t have time to think or care too much about where the food is from or how it is produced.  And this is the price we pay for complacency.