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to be kind of glad they found horse in cheap meat?

(140 Posts)
ManyBellyKicks Sat 16-Feb-13 10:45:10

I mean I'm not glad they did it, but that its all out now?

And more importantly its gave me a massive kick up the arse because I don't want my kids eating unknown crap. Its not the horse meat thats offensive to me really, more the thought that I was buying 'cheap beef products' and it wasn't beef at all.

Of course I've always known these ready meals and cheap processed stuff isn't the best, I'm not daft, but it was cheap and edible and the kids liked it and it suited my (struggling) pocket. I knew it wouldn't be prime cuts of meat but the realisation that there's stuff not listed on the box is quite disgusting, who knows what the heck is in there.

So in light of this, the last few weeks we have had NO processed meat.

This is quite a turn around in our house.

I'm cooking frech meals with fresh lean beef, lasgane, chillis, bolognases. And instead of things like chicken nuggets or chicken burgers I'm 'splashing out' on chicken breasts and doing my own.

So AIBU to think that this could turn out to be a (slightlyyy) positive thing is it makes people who ate alot of processed, convenience food think about their meals and eat better?

AuntieMaggie Tue 19-Feb-13 19:55:21

According to one whistleblower some try to tell the difference by smelling it...

I'm not going to name and shame as its more than my lifes worth.

Not all butchers dissect their own all the time same as not all farm shops sell just their own produce - sometimes they get their supplies from the same suppliers as the supermarkets and other food companies. And sometimes its already been rejected by the latter...

LaLaGabby Mon 18-Feb-13 22:41:42

AuntieMaggie, it is simply utter nonsense to claim that a butcher would not be able to tell whether 'a lump of red meat' in 'a chopped state' comes from.

No butcher would have any trouble telling whether a piece of meat is cow (which they dissect every single day of their working lives) or not.

Beside which butchers generally take delivery of meat as sides of beef or similar, not chopped up chunks.

I am still waiting to hear about which butchers or farm shops have been found selling horse as you claim.

AuntieMaggie Mon 18-Feb-13 22:28:04

What is snobbish is the amount of people assuming that because they spend more money or buy their meat from waitrose for example that they can't possibly have eaten horse.

countrykitten Nothing wrong with caring where your food comes from but don't assume you're better off or a better person because you can afford to throw more money at it (which I think has been implied by some on this thread... Not you btw smile).

flatbread you are an exception as you have actually checked it out.

limitedperiodonly my mother is younger than yours and we're working class. She often cooks things like rabbit and oxtail that most people would turn their noses up at (including me) and it wasn't uncommon when I was younger for us to have a whole tongue in the fridge for cold meat!!!

limitedperiodonly Mon 18-Feb-13 18:39:06

I come from a working class background. I’d call myself middle class, not because I’m ashamed of my origins, but because I can't square my lifestyle and professional job with the working class and expect them to keep a straight face. My sister, who has a similar lifestyle, disagrees and we have endless, essentially harmless discussions about it.

Anyway, for 30 or 40 years it's been more accurate to talk about ABC 1s and 2s and 3s than working, middle and upper class, so that’s irrelevant.

And it has nothing to do with expecting basic trading and health standards.

The last thing I’d say is that working class people eat any old shit. I was taught about nutrition and cooking in Home Economics at school when I was still resoundingly working class.

There is nothing class-based about a concern for animal welfare and knowing about nutrition and cookery. They are separate things.

However, there is a growing income and class issue about being able to afford decent food, having the knowledge and wherewithal to cook it, being able to afford it and the fuel to store and cook it in the first place.

My mother lived through the Second World War and remembers with fear the threat of starvation through the U boat blockades and the subsequent terror of food adulteration.

Her family raised rabbits and chickens in their East London back garden and traded them with neighbours for vegetables or tobacco or anything else they could get. My grandfather killed the chickens but couldn’t face finishing off the rabbits so a local butcher did that and kept all the meat in his cold store for a trade off.

She tells me that rabbits were sold with their heads on so you could tell them from cats. When I took her to France she was obsessed that we'd be served horse. Because of her experiences she finds it patronising that what you'd call middle class people might expect her to eat horse or anything else that’s not what it says it is.

Because of her experiences she loves and trusts supermarkets. I keep an open mind. But I certainly wouldn’t discount her knowledge or ditch food standards regulation for my own nose and I don’t think anyone else should either. That’s where we agree.

countrykitten Mon 18-Feb-13 17:05:21

I too do not see what is 'snobbish' about caring about what you eat and where it has come from! That is such a ridiculous notion and it saddens me to think that people hold such a view.

I do detect a rather large chunk of hypocrisy is some posts here though as the general assumption seems to be that the working classes eat any old shit and don't care where it comes from and the middle classes are poncey and snobby for caring too much. Highly patronising imo - to both groups of people.

If we as individuals don't care about this then you can be sure that govt will do the minimum (if anything at all) about it. As a consumer you have to vote with your feet....

Flatbread Mon 18-Feb-13 16:16:13

Ok, you rely on government. I will rely on my own vigilance.

You think my approach is snobbish. I think your approach is lazy. Guess the truth lies somewhere in between.

Maybe I am a natural suspicious kind, but I never trust anyone else to watch out for me. Tbh, I am much, much more shocked at the NHS inquiry, and yet not one person has resigned, fired or being prosecuted.

It is the clearest sign that no one really cares about us, the consumers. The government will do the minimal it can against vested power and business.

You can 'rely' on the government to monitor producers. I will continue to use my power as a consumer to support local business that produce food ethically. Not because the government tells me they are good, but because we can visit our food source and make our own judgement.

Everyone can do it, btw. There are caring/ high-quality producers dotted all over the country. And many of them deliver their meat/produce.

limitedperiodonly Mon 18-Feb-13 16:09:31

That's not to say this is the government's fault. It would be wise for them to get a grip on it soon though, and consider legislation or prosecutions, if warranted.

limitedperiodonly Mon 18-Feb-13 16:01:44

Thanks auntiemaggie

It is snobbery and it’s worked both ways over the years.

In the ‘80s I remember people being mocked for ‘listeria hysteria’ because they were yuppies who ate the ‘poncey’ foods affected by sloppy manufacturing and handling standards such as bagged salads, pate and any cheese that wasn't cheddar.

Then BSE hit in the mid-90s and suddenly it was all about ‘chavs’ and how they deserved dementia because they devoured cheap burgers and didn’t care enough about animal welfare or their own bodies.

Neither approach was well-informed. It wasn't kind for a start and if people get sick, we all end up paying for it through the NHS.

As other people have said, it’s about being to trust that food conforms to UK health and trading standards.

The 19th century was a time of terrible food adulteration with people being fed rat, cat, dog and even human flesh and bread made with chalk, sawdust and brickdust because people had moved into the cities to find work and were helpless to scammers. That’s how we got trusted brands such as Hovis and Acts of Parliament to ensure public health.

We might be obsessed with cookery shows and sourcing artisan titbits but the reality is that most of us live urban lives, far from food production and shop in supermarkets. That is how our society runs. We not only have to rely on the government to act for us, they should.

Flatbread Mon 18-Feb-13 15:09:06

Better regulation and increased customer awareness are not mutually incompatible, you know.

As a consumer, you cannot rely on the government to do all your due diligence for you. You can hope they do, but at the end of the day, you have to exercise your own judgement and vigilance.

If supermarkets put pressure on suppliers to provide food at unsustainably low prices, well, something will have to give. Perhaps the result will be more intensive factory farming, cheap, exploited labour or mixing of ingredients and tweaking labels to meet EU regulations.

What is snobbish about being aware and engaged with your food sources? I know which farm our lamb comes from. Because I ask the butcher and the farm is within driving distance for us to check it out. And I found a good butcher because I asked for recommendations and tried a few till I found one we could trust for consistently high quality meat.

It is easy to throw your hands in the air in horror and blame the government. But we as consumers, have the power to vote with our feet. And promote our local food producers.

AuntieMaggie Mon 18-Feb-13 14:52:56

limitedperiodonly you speak sense.

This has been going on for years and the suppliers involved also supply farm shops and butchers so being a snob about where you buy your meat from does not make any sense at all because in all likelihood even those that buy from their local butcher may have eaten horse too as (I quote someone who knows more than I do) one lump of red meat looks very much like another and in a cut up state even butchers have difficulty telling the difference!

MrsBethel Mon 18-Feb-13 14:45:20

If one buys mince and processed nuggets and other meat of unknown providence or prepared meals for less than it takes to buy the ingredients....well, what do you expect?

For the products to comply with UK law?

Flatbread Mon 18-Feb-13 14:17:27

Cantspel, agree that some of the cheaper cuts are really good when slow-cooked. Also using bones for making broth. And Waitrose has organic chicken livers that are only a couple of quid and could feed a family of four if prepared with vegetables.

It is a question of people educating themselves about food and making the right choices. If people knew cuts of meat and how to tell a good piece of meat, then the supermarkets wouldn't be able to get away with it. (Some butchers are sub-standard as well. It is like everything else, finding a supplier you trust, and having the ability to tell quality from crap)

If one buys mince and processed nuggets and other meat of unknown providence or prepared meals for less than it takes to buy the ingredients....well, what do you expect?

The scandal has shaken people out of a gluttonous meat complacence. Hopefully it will mean people learn to respect food and the animals they eat, instead of gorging themselves on meat 'nuggets' and 'fingers' and cheap processed crap.

As a precaution, I have stopped buying veggie burgers (rarely did anyway) and make my own. And I check the origins of my veggies and usually buy seasonal and from local farms. And I grow my own.

Am I smug? Yes, a little bit grin

badtemperedaldbitch Mon 18-Feb-13 13:20:05

i'm really saddened by the opinons on this thread, since there seems to be an outcry against the eating or non eating of meat

rather than the supply and control of food that is safe to eat.
And all of you who are so complacent this time... unless you are growing/rearing you own.... you are all prime targets next time, so dont get too comfy in your smug little world!

I'm expemt from this crisis because i'm rich enough to buy my way out of it... that attitude is much more distasteful to me

cantspel Mon 18-Feb-13 13:18:21

You can still eat good quality meat cheaply but you need to buy the cheaper cuts so swap your rib of beef for brisket , your chicken breast for thighs and your leg of lamb for neck. All very tasty if you cook them correctly. The problem is people dont know how to and so complain they are tough or stringy.

freetoanyhome Mon 18-Feb-13 13:10:08

least I know they are chicken and not dobbin wink

countrykitten Mon 18-Feb-13 13:01:56

And you are not a hypocrite - it is humane to let an expert see to that part of their lives in order to keep it as quick as possible.

countrykitten Mon 18-Feb-13 13:00:43

Thanks for explaining that. We too hatched a few boys but I did not have the guts to arrange for this to be done and they went to a local breeder who liked the look of them to breed from (they were a cochin and a buff orp). I think that the honesty of raising birds like this and seeing it through as you do is really commendable.

freetoanyhome Mon 18-Feb-13 12:24:51

'Genuinely interested in your home slaughter freetoanyhome - it certainly is preferable to factory farming and hideous slaughter methods. I am assuming that you are talking about poultry though as anything larger would be illegal - am I right? We are deep in farming country and I know that people 'deal' with their own birds here. '

Yes. I dont do it myself (I am a hypocrite and I'm too afraid of causing them any pain by being inept). We have a small flock as we live in a city and naturally when you raise chicks you end up with a few cockerals plus I take in unwanted male chicks. We keep them until they start getting fighty and noisy then take them to a friend who uses the cone method. So we maybe get 6 birds a year. It varies as he takes some, friends take others. I feel they had a decent life, werent crushed to death at 1 day old and the death is as fast as can be (I do watch as I owe them that). I was veggie for decades but we now eat them and have meat maybe once every month or so from these roosters. We keep the hens even when they dont lay anymore but have only been doing this 6 years. Our oldest girl is 6 and still pops out the odd egg.

limitedperiodonly Mon 18-Feb-13 12:07:03

The only power consumers have is to kick up a fuss. And people aren't doing that in the case of this scandal because they think it affects other people who deserve it.

On this thread we have people breathing a sigh of relief because they don't eat meat or buy it from Waitrose, M&S or independent butchers, as if you know where they get their meat from.

But one of the food processors being investigated is 2 Sisters Food Group which supplies Harrods, BA, M&S and Pret A Manger and others and you don't get more well-respected brands than those.

Yesterday we had the chief executive of Waitrose basically blaming people who want cheap food and the rivals that sell it. This'll be the Waitrose who withdrew a range of frozen burgers this week 'purely as a precautionary measure'.

His opposite number from Iceland blew his trumpet while hitting out at local authorities supplying schools and hospitals. Places we are entitled to trust.

Unscrupulous suppliers are everywhere, selling every type of food. And food retailers have a duty to know exactly what they're selling.

You can't avoid being caught in a food scandal, but you can defend everyone who has been duped by criminal behaviour because next time it'll be you.

Flatbread Mon 18-Feb-13 11:09:40

It is a scandal, which frankly, can be best controlled by joint efforts from regulators and consumers.

As long as there are unaware consumers who fuel the demand for cheap meat, there will be unscrupulous suppliers to meet that demand.

limitedperiodonly Mon 18-Feb-13 07:51:57

This is a scandal about the criminal adulteration of food. This time it's meat eaten by ghastly people. It's been vegetables and water in the past.

Treating it as an opportunity to demonise people who do things we don't approve of lets the true culprits off the hook.

countrykitten Sun 17-Feb-13 21:28:54

There are plenty of things that the rich can afford regularly that I cannot! That is life. As flatbread says, good quality meat every now and then rather then cheap meat all the time is far preferable.

Genuinely interested in your home slaughter freetoanyhome - it certainly is preferable to factory farming and hideous slaughter methods. I am assuming that you are talking about poultry though as anything larger would be illegal - am I right? We are deep in farming country and I know that people 'deal' with their own birds here.

My girls are safe though- even if some of the buggers are ancient and barely lay!

Flatbread Sun 17-Feb-13 20:22:03

Erm, meat, not 'neat'

Flatbread Sun 17-Feb-13 20:21:30

What is wrong with eating neat only occasionally, usual ? We veggies manage fine without meat, it is hardly a human right to eat meat everyday.

And what about the poor animals who are factory farmed and abused to provide cheap meat? Do they have no right to a happy and dignified existence?

Meat that is ethically produced will be expensive. And if people can't afford it on a daily basis, so be it.

usualsuspect Sun 17-Feb-13 20:13:59

If you are poor eat veggies? Only the rich should eat meat?

Bloody hell.

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