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Why horse-meat-gate should outrage all on the left

Its very easy to dismiss the horse-meat scandal as a lot of fuss over nothing. Indeed it does fit into a certain British stereotype of a strange sentimentality about animals.

However the scandal has exposed the awful regulation of food, the disgrace that the food industry is, and class divisions in society that even manifest themselves in peoples’ diets.

On “Any Questions” a few weeks ago Nigella Lawson said she did not know what the fuss was about, that she had eaten horse plenty of times in restaurants. Helena Kennedy was quick to point out Lawson’s privileged position, saying the horse she’d eaten hadn’t come from the knackers yard and not been properly regulated like the horse found in this scandal.

The horse DNA has all been found in cheap meant that many people who are less well off have to buy. We should make no mistake, the horse-meant scandal has class at its core. Its about the rights of all people, whatever their means, to be able to have the dignity to have decent food.

Of course horse is not poisonous, and even the horse tranquilliser possibly present is in non-harmful doses, but if the poor regulations allowed in horse-meant this time, what will they allow in next time? We have to have proper food regulations to make sure that companies cannot exploit the less well off with sub-standard products.

The scandal is even more outrageous when one considers that the cutting of beef with horse-meat was driven on as a race to the bottom for ever cheaper meat by local authorities. With non-essential budgets being cut from hospitals and schools, procurement departments were handing food contracts to the cheapest bidder. That made companies look outside the law to get cheaper meat and ended up with unregulated horse in our food-chain. We need quality food in hospitals and schools but cuts have stoked this scandal in which the state is feeding those it should be looking after with food that should never have been sold.

Ultimately the scandal has exposed all the problems in the modern food industry. Poor regulation aside, that there is a clear class division in terms of diet, with those less well off being forced to eat poor quality food that leads to ill health and government cuts to services resulting in sub-standard food making it onto the plates of schoolchildren and patients.

One Comment

  1. Dodgy Geezer says:

    ..the cutting of beef with horse-meat was driven on as a race to the bottom for ever cheaper meat by local authorities…

    Umm…no. If that were the case, why is Davigel involved? They are a top-class supplier.

    The truth is a lot more simple. People are committing the crime of mislabeling meat because it makes good money, and it’s laughably easy to do. We have labeling regulations coming out of our ears, and bureaucracy everywhere, but when we joined the EU Single Market we sacked all our food inspectors, and relied on the CE marking process.

    It is this marking process which has become corrupted. And the only way to address it is to bring back our own inspection regime which we can rely on. But this is illegal under EU law…

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