Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Portents of Spring, Horse-meat & Red Tractor Assurance
Blackbirds are beginning to sing and robins are everywhere with their cheerful spring song and their curiosity brings them to investigate any activity around the gardens.
Over the past couple of weeks the farmimg community has been rocked by the scandal of horse-meat being passed off as beef by a number of manufacturers of ready-meals. As farmers amd meat producers we have been under very strict regulation for many years as to how we rear our livestock and revelations of this scandal undermine much that has been done to build consumer confidence in the food supply chain. The Red Tractor logo scheme (though not without its imperfections) is a set of standards that British farmers work to and with any luck this whole business will be an opportunity to promote British standards of production and should help promote organic farming to a wider consumer group.
The whole issue is not about farming or the production of beef in this country but about supermarket greed. The supermarkets drive down prices and thereby there is drop in quality. While I do not have a problem with eating horse-meat per se the problem is that horses can be injected with any number of drugs for what ever reason that do not have a withdrawal period as the animals are not intended to enter the food chain. Therefore the meat may well contain residues of these drugs; in fact a number of samples have been found to contain bute (phenylbutazone) which can be harmful to humans.
One good thing that should come out of it all is that the high street butchers will see an increase in business as people try to find good quality meat from a known source. Any good butcher should be able to tell his customers where his meat has been reared and slaughtered.
This is going to rumble on for along time yet as there are now suggestions that pork & chicken products may be investigated.
Go to your local butcher! Eat organic!