Thursday, 14 February 2013

What's your beef?

Now you may be shocked by what you're about to see, so I'd advise you to sit down before reading on (or at least surround yourself with soft pillows to fall on, whilst removing all broken glass, knives and bear traps from your vicinity).

A news report this evening suggests that a company involved in the horse meat scandal bought in cheap horse meat and then passed it off as beef (by using the very sophisticated method known as 'sticking new labels on stuff'). They did this deliberately.

What's that I can hear? Why it's a collective gasp of surprise and astonishment!

Who knew that companies were being deliberately deceitful? I for one had previously assumed that a bunch of horses had dressed up in cow onesies in a prank that just went too far.

But no. It was actually in this instance a French company *cups hand to ear to hear another crescendo of astonished gasps* that was, what in the scientific community is known as, 'buggering about with the food chain'.

The company concerned is called 'Spanghero'. To be honest, that should have been enough of a warning in itself. It sounds very made up, like something out of a comic book.

A while back on Twitter, when the news of the buggered up food chain first broke, I saw several tweets (mainly from vegetarians) along the lines of 'If you're happy to eat beef, what does it matter if you actually end up eating horse?'

Whilst on one level I can appreciate the point that is being made, the reality is that despite what some militant vegetarians might think, just because I might choose to eat beef, doesn't mean I'm an actual omnivore. I'd never choose to eat horse. Or lamb, rabbit, goat, dog or most other living things.

If we're happy to shrug off such incidents with a 'well I don't know what you're complaining about, you dirty meat eater' attitude, what message does that send to the food manufactures and sellers?

If we can't trust the ingredients presented to us, even in a basic meal, how can any of us ever make a conscious choice about what we eat?

Whether you're buying a steak, chicken nuggets or a ready meal that contains Quorn, it's only fair to know for sure that it is what it purports to be.

Not to mention the fact that if food manufacturers are happy to blatantly lie about something as basic as the meat used in their products, how can they be trusted to be employing the necessary stringent hygiene controls? They could literally be 'pissing on your chips' just for a laugh.

Funnily enough, this whole incident has made me question what I'm eating and the conditions slaughtered animals face. I'm very tempted to go back to being a vegetarian (I was previously one for a total of 15 years at various periods of my life).

Unfortunately, the reason why I always ended up returning to meat was that no matter what I tried in order to maintain a healthy balanced diet, I always ended up feeling ridiculously weak and wobbly. The only antidote that I found to this was having a steak casserole or similar - suddenly the life force flooded back into me.

I guess the key with this, like any other situation is finding the right balance that suits you. And also, not pretending that X is actually Y.

In the spirit of ceasing to pretend that you are something that you're not, I will no longer be passing myself off as a black rapper. Apologies to all of you who used to enjoy my breakdancing on an old piece of lino down the shopping centre.

1 comment:

  1. It's made me question everything too! Even before this big scandal hoo-har, I was feeling very wary about the food industry (due to a mix of personal (healthy) paranoia and watching some documentaries on hidden ingredients and dangerous chemicals put into processed foods. This just confirms that the paranoia/waryness was warranted! It makes me wanna grow my own veggies and live off the land!