Posts Tagged ‘England’

Horseburger: Tip of the iceberg & a chip pass

Januar 29, 2013

Horses before becoming beef burgers2For almost two weeks now, a rather animalic scandal has been sending shockwaves through Englands meat processing and retail industry. When the Irish Food authority released the news about their finding horsemeat in some beefburgers on January 15th, the reactions among consumers and in the farming sector were strong. Unlike the Swiss habit, it’s apparently rather taboo to eat horse in Ireland and in the UK it’s not much more popular.
But even if the Irish would love horseburgers, this wouldn’t make things any better. False declaration is a hyper-sensitive matter in the food sector and for the big retailers involved, eg. Tesco and Aldi, it was and still is a very embarassing story. 
13 days after the start of this Burgergate, the  Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney has published the „Final Update on Authenticity of Meat Products Investigation“. It confirms, that the source of the equine DNA in the burgers was an ingredient imported from Poland for the burgers of the ABP Food Group’s Silvercrest-Plant, a so called „beef filler made up of fat cuts and trims“. The responsible company reacts as expected: It is sacking a few people, restructuring the organisation, and auditing all third party suppliers, as the „Farmers Guardian“ reports.
What are the lessons out of the Horseburger-Scandal? There is a few. Firstly, the internationally dispersed assembling, processing and production of foods guarantee the lowest possible price, while there’s a higher risk of scandals like the one we’re talking of. A scandal that is costing the involved companies not only a lot of money but also – much more valuable – a lot of consumers trust. Many people are wondering why Ireland as one of Europes leading beef exporters is importing beef for hamburgers – the answer is simple: ABP can save a few pennies per Burger with this measure.
I bet, and the measures taken by ABP prove it, that nothing will change fundamentally about these procedures and the next food scandal will be coming as surely as the amen in the church. We’re talking of the tip of an iceberg here and one day it might destroy the Food-Industry, this multinational Titanic.
And here comes the chance – or as we call it in Switzerland the chip pass – for the british farmers, small processors and groceries. Scandals like this will help to convince a certain if probably small percentage of the consumers (probably at least all of the horse-friends) to no longer buy the cheapest burger at one of the big retailers outlets, but a pure british beef burger from a known source, like a local farmer and a local butcher.
Finally my favourite horseburger-joke: Tesco burger walks into bar. „Pint please“. „I can’t hear you“ says barman. „Sorry“ replies burger. „I’m a little bit horse“. (Bilder LID, The Grocer)
Horse before becoming beef burger