I remember a Lady of my acquaintance who would say, when presented with evidence of greed or bureaucratic heartlessness, “It makes you spit.”
Now I know just how she felt. In the UK the livestock industry has had to jump through a myriad bureaucratic hoops ‘to maintain consumer confidence.’ Every bovine on this farm has an individual passport which details where it was born, who its mother was, and when they have moved between farm to farm. All the livestock have their own individual ID tags, registered on databases held by the authorities. It has cost the industry millions and has massively increased my exposure to endless tedious paperwork.
And why is this? Well apparently our lords and masters, the major retailers, demand complete traceability from ‘farm to fork.’ All the major dairies and all the major retail chains have their own ‘farm assurance’ scheme whose rules they expect farmers to obey.
Yet now we discover that a ‘beef burger’ from Tesco’s Value range had 29% horse meat.
So how did it happen? Well let’s start from the beginning. It wasn’t an accident at a UK abattoir. Some overworked meat inspector didn’t mistakenly confuse a horse with a bullock. Even if he cannot tell the difference between the species, each animal has its own individual paperwork that will tell him what species it was.
So how did it happen? Well apparently it came in as part of ‘cheap filler’.
Yes, that’s what Tesco and the rest of them add. ‘Cheap filler.’ They demand UK producers meet the highest standards of traceability, and then just buy cheap filler to adulterate the good stuff with so that it leaves them a better margin.
How much ‘cheap filler’?
Well one Tesco Burger had 29% horsemeat in it. Straight horsemeat sells well enough on the continent, probably too well to be a ‘cheap filler’ without being ‘cut’ with something else. So perhaps the filler is only 50% horsemeat. Lord alone knows what rubbish they mix with that to get the price down.
I’m sorry but the hypocrisy of the retailers, demanding everyone else spend a fortune jumping through the hoops the supermarket demands, ‘to ensure quality from farm to fork’, only to have these charlatans then mix good food with cheap rubbish they’ve imported specially.
It strikes me that we don’t need ‘farm assurance’ schemes. It strikes me we need Supermarket assurance schemes.
However if it’s any consolation to our major retailers, I’ve found a song that they can use in their next marketing campaign.
I am the man the very fat man that waters the workers beer
What do I know? Curl up with a good enough book and they might even have gone away by the time you finish