The upshot thinking from my previous rant is rather better thought out.
The mane* outcome from the Horrifying Horsemeat Scandal that has apparently rocked the UK is that the government has made the food manufacturers promise that they will test their meat products every quarter.
Great. So that’ll help … who, exactly?
What are they going to do? Every time they find evidence of some kind of ‘foreign’ meat, they will presumably trace it back, identify suppliers, decide what to do about it, try to walk the balance between media excitement and public hysteria. What a palaver.
This is a chance for them (the Govt., the manufacturers ho hum, and the producers, growers, farmers) to look at the processes they employ to achieve their ends (i.e. profit) and ask themselves if this is not an ethics question after all.
The labeling/dodgy suppliers issues are insignificant compared to the alarming moral slippage. The reason suppliers have to declare the percentage of meat in their products is because some of them use very little meat compared to their public image. They get away with it because ‘we’ buy it. Literally. And the more watered down the product is, the more money they make out of each sale.
At what point does the ‘helpless’ public put its hands up and say “No more!”? I’m all for mass production if it can be done at the level of quality we should expect. But it can’t. It isn’t.
The world has dumbed itself down on sandwiches and ‘mystery meat’** and the Govt. can now take advantage of that ignorance by paying lip service to ‘quality assurance’. The most important word in that phrase being the second.
This way they get to keep making the products and the profit, and that stays the damage. And the Great British Public gets to continue wolfing down huge quantities of meat-ish products without giving it another thought.
In the meantime … Small producers in the UK are struggling through high fuel prices (with the knock on effects on feed, labour, etc.), a wet, damp, torrential 18 months and the prices of milk and lamb dropping through the bottom of the market. Large producers are helping the supermarkets force the prices down through their economies of scale and now the market has little competition.
It’s down to the consumer to vote with their wallets.
People eat too much meat. The amount they think they eat may not be correct, due to the hidden fillers within popular products. The bit that is meat contains complex proteins which the body can sometimes struggle to break down. It’s far better to make the unsullied raw meat stretch across two or more meals, using potatoes, rice, vegetables, and beans than to eat the industrial fillers provided by food production companies. Sure locally reared British meat is expensive. But you don’t need as much as you think.
Changing your eating habits is really hard. It’s like joining a new culture. You have to try twice as hard to begin with because you sometimes have to learn things. Like how to cook. Remembering to read ingredients labels for vegetarian products. Boring *yawn* but necessary for survival.
I’m serious. Here’s the mantra: Meat less eat, veggies more eat, food more make. You have to say it backwards 242 times a day for four months.