Positive Outcomes from the Negative Horse Meat Scandal

Posted: 12/02/2013 in Latest Ideas and Opinions
Tags: , , ,

I’m often asked my opinion on headlines and scandals. It surprises people when I mention the positive future impact these events could have. The latest scandal is horse meat, that has been used in processed ready meals at various major retailers.

For now the focus is going to be on an investigation, why did the meat get through so many different channels of quality control? Are quality controls even in place for this eventuality?  Why do companies feel the need to outsource to the degree this meat was? And if it was this easy to get into the food chain, would it be possible for terrorists to use similar techniques to poison our food chain?

All of the above are valid points and areas which rightly so need to be investigated. But to put a different spin on the situation, let’s look at the possible positive implications this scandal could have.

Obesity – Although not entirely the fault of processed food companies, it still has a major part to play in the current climate of obese children and people in general. The sugar and salt content are a big issue, along with preservatives. Maybe this will encourage people to buy fresh food from local suppliers and cook a meal that costs a similar amount of money to produce.

Supply Chain – Food that has to travel around 3 countries before it even arrives in the UK can’t be good for either the environment, the cost and the quality of food. Surely we have some capacity to shop local and produce this within our small island where possible. I know the cost implication is always the first point people raise, in reality, we can’t do a fair comparison, taking into account we’re comparing beef with Romanian horse meat.

Recycling and Environment – The distance the food is travelling is obviously a key point but another point to consider is the amount of packaging these ready meals have. They have to be boxed in multi-pack boxes for shipping across the four countries, then distributed around the UK. Then eventually they arrive at our supermarkets, where they are split into yet more individual boxes, we then buy them, open them, remove the film lid and plastic pot from the box, which is then discarded at the end. Now the obvious argument is, recycle the boxes and containers and where this is possible, it works. But an easier scenario is to buy fresh and local, lose the boxes, plastic tubs, film lids and countless amount of journey time.

Food Standards – We now know horse meat is in our food chain. But this is the kick up the backside that the industry has needed for years. Lets investigate what is in more food items and make sure we’re not eating something more deadly then a nags head. We need to simplify food and give people a more cost effective method of eating normal, healthy food, that contains the ingredients it has, not needs to last in the fridge or cupboard for years.

Other positives could come out of the situation, now the media is involved a whole lot of negatives will become involved but this is the way I see the situation. Maybe none of the above will happen, maybe some of the points are debatable but lets get the argument out there and see if we can create a talking point, that eventually will make a difference.

Personally I think shopping locally gives you a lot more information and background into your purchases. You can make informed decisions based on knowledgeable people from your own area. Also investing money into the local economy helps to create jobs and improve the local community. Granted it’s not always the cheapest option but quality comes with a guarantee that what you’re paying for is what it says on the label.

Feel free to comment and follow as always…

  1. Great arguement, Lee. I have been saying this for years! I really hope the country sits up and listens this time, we have relied on supermarkets for far too long.

    • Completely agree with you. Shopping locally isn’t always the cheapest option but you get the quality and background information that you can’t get at a supermarket.

      Thanks for the comment Elaine.

  2. Debbie C says:

    Very thought provoking, many thanks for this insight. Buying local answers a whole load of issues…!

    • Buying local is a huge step. In the Black Country some businesses I worked with would even deliver each others products to make it as competitive as possible. Even my own mother has her butcher deliver her meat and vegetables to her front doors for a very competitive rate. I’m sure similar in Bude would be very well received.

  3. Dawn Robinson-Walsh says:

    Suspect we all need less, too. Lots of food we buy ends up in the bin, anyway. As a girl, I’d be sent to the local shop for 1/4lb cheese – imagine!! Now if it isn’t a bogof we’re noti nterested. Buy less, more frequently, keep it small and fresh and what you need. The shopping bills will drop even if you eat better quality food! Good blog, Lee, thanks.

    • Definitely agree Dawn. I worked in the waste industry as a Transport Manager and visited landfills frequently and it’s a real eye opener. To think a refuse lorry that picks up our bags weekly holds around 11 tonnes of waste and it has to empty a couple of times a day at least. There are so many of these waste vehicles going round the country, picking up waste that shouldn’t even be in the bin bags. In fact, as an area I’m familiar with, i might make this my next topic.

  4. susan shelton says:

    You are so right. The quality of the meat, vegetables and fruit that are delivered to me are alot better then any supermarket and it stays fresher alot longer, so there is less waste … and tastes better x

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