I’ve seen a lot of jokes flying around about the horsemeat scandal, but I’ve had a sense of humour failure over this one. Not just because of my family background, or our special relationship with horses, or the fact that I could no more contemplate eating a horse than I could a cat or a dog.
No, the reason I’m not laughing is because I believe very strongly that we all have a right to make an informed choice about the food we eat – and more importantly, the food we give our children.
The most alarming thing about the horsemeat scandal is that it may have contained a substance known to be a serious human health risk (bute). And who knows how much of it is in the food chain now?
This whole mess has echoes of the BSE crisis, when we were told – wrongly at the time – that beef was safe to eat. Look how that turned out.
And it’s inconceivable, surely, that manufacturers didn’t know where the meat for their burgers and lasagne was coming from. Isn’t that what they do all those factory visits for?
Personally I hope that if investigations prove that companies knowingly sold food containing horse meat, or pork, or anything else it wasn’t supposed to, they will face heavy fines/loss of their licences were applicable. But now we need to know the truth.
It’s irrelevant that they eat horsemeat freely in Europe. The point is that they buy horse and they get horse. They know what they’re getting, and that’s the way it should be.
We live in a consumer society, and consumers have a right to know exactly what is in the food they’re buying. It’s that simple.