Horse-Gate – Do You Care About What You’re Eating?

The chances are, unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard about ‘The 2013 meat adulteration scandal’, as it has been dubbed.

The story first hit the headlines on 15th January when it was reported that horse DNA had been discovered in frozen beef burgers sold in several British and Irish supermarkets. Since then the story has rumbled on and, if the papers are to be believed, we are all up in arms about the whole sorry affair.

But is anyone actually that bothered? In relation to other news stories for example, no casual acquaintances have asked my opinion about it or whether I will be changing my shopping habits.

Maybe everyone already knows that I am not a regular purchaser of frozen burgers or microwavable lasagnes; maybe no one cares about my weekly shop and to be fair, why would they? But not being asked to voice my opinion on horse-gate isn’t my only piece of evidence to support my ‘no one really cares’ argument.

The British Retail Consortium recently reported little change in people’s shopping habits. One reason for this could be that in ‘the current economic climate’ people can’t afford to change their shopping habits. After all, frozen food is cheaper and can reduce waste.

However, a more worrying statistic, from a survey by market analyst Minet, states that only 39% of people felt it was important to know the ingredients in their food. I would argue that it is fairly common knowledge that cheap, processed food isn’t healthy and is likely to contain the more undesirable cuts of ‘meat’.

Do those people who buy these sorts of products consider their diet to be less of a priority to those who opt for free-range and organic? Possibly, but conversely it’s also worth bearing in mind that people living in relative poverty can’t always afford to nip to the local butcher for a prime cut.

But if Channel 4’s Supersize vs Superskinny and Dr. Christian have taught me anything it’s that what you eat is important. Hopefully this latest controversy will shake us up as a nation into taking more notice of where our food is sourced. Maybe some of the manufacturers will see the merits of transparency in their labelling of products. And maybe the whole scandal will provoke our increasingly obesity-ridden society into thinking twice about what we put on out plates.


By Rebecca White, North West Development Officer




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