The horsemeat scandal in the retail meat industry has highlighted a specific problem of gross negligence by larger supermarket chains and meat processing companies trading in the UK. It is a mystery how fresh processed meat items were not tested for contamination by other meats several years ago.
Local high street butchers have to comply with regular testing and examination of their meat products by the British meat standards agency.
If it was discovered that beef products in a local butcher shop contained more than 25 per cent horsemeat, rabbit or wild fowl, that business would be rejected by its customers and would most likely cease trading.
The multi-nationals in the meat industry are responsible for constant cost cutting and the drive to reduce prices; this has led to a loss of public trust in the meat industry.
Not only do high-street butchers respect their customers by ensuring that their products are exactly as described, they rely on the continued patronage of their customers for their survival.
I hope those who have been negligent will be held accountable for deceiving the public, and for bringing the meat industry into bad repute.
Ferdinand, the winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby, was exported to Japan in old age, slaughtered and sold as a delicacy in a leading Tokyo restaurant.
I was introduced to horse meat as a child when I spent summers with my French grandmother, and order it when it appears on the menu. It has a taste somewhere between that of beef and venison while its colour becomes darker and – unlike other meats – more tender as the animal advances in age.
In spite of the hysteria, horse meat is used in many traditional recipes of lasagne because it gives a better taste and its lean and tender quality requires a shorter cooking time.
It remained a popular meat in some parts of Britain during the first half of the last century and was, of course, in great demand throughout the country during the war.
(Dr) John Cameron
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